Thursday, January 30, 2020

First Novel Coronavirus case in the Philippines confirmed

The Department of Health has confirmed the first case of the 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus or 2019 nCoV in the Philippines.

The patient, said to be asymptomatic or displaying no symptoms, is a 38-year-old woman who arrived in the Philippines on January 21 from Wuhan in China, the ground of the newly discovered strain of coronavirus. “She is currently asymptomatic...she has no fever and no other signs and symptoms suggesting illness at this point,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a Thursday afternoon press briefing.

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“DOH assures health facilities are equipped and prepared to receive and care for PUIs [patients under investigation] and confirmed 2019-nCoV cases.”

The patient’s test results returned Thursday from the Australia-based Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory. “The confirmed case arrived in the Philippines from Wuhan, China via Hong Kong last Jan. 21, 2020. The patient sought consult and was admitted in one of the country's government hospitals last January 25 after experiencing mild cough,” the Health department said in a release. There are a total of 29 patients under investigation as of writing.

Eighteen of which are in Metro Manila, while four are in Central Visayas and three are in Western Visayas. One PUI each was recorded in Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and in Davao.

Of the 29 PUIs, 23 patients are currently admitted while five have been discharged under strict monitoring. The Health department assured that it is on top of the situation and working closely with the World Health Organization.

“I assure the public that the Department of Health is on top of this evolving situation...We are working closely with the hospital where the patient is admitted and have activated the Incident Command System of the said hospital for appropriate management, specifically on infection control, case management and containment,” Duque said in a release The DOH has recommended the temporary restriction on issuance of visas for travelers coming from Hubei Province in China, issuing travel advisories temporarily discouraging non-essential travel of Filipinos to China, ensuring comprehensive transportation and quarantine plans for Filipinos who opt to voluntarily repatriate conditionally under quarantine for 2 weeks.

Epidemiology Bureau chief Chito Avelino said the Health department is currently searching which flight carriers did the 2019 nCoV-infected patient board and where else did she go in the country. “We requested for the flight details, kung ano yung mga flight carriers na sinakyan ng pasyente at kung saan pumunta. We also coordinated with the CHD (Centers for Health Development) Region 7 (Central Visayas) to look at the places they have been to in Cebu and Dumaguete,” Avelino said. “Then we do the contact tracing for the plane... We do the Rules of 4, four passengers front, back and both sides. Contact these passengers and inform them. They are also checking which establishments the patient has visited to find which employees had direct contact," he added.