By Analou de Vera
Amid reports that a mysterious disease had emanated from China, the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday encouraged Filipinos with no urgent business to avoid travelling to the said country for the time being.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that Chinese authorities were still investigating the virus behind the mysterious disease that already affected 59 individuals in Wuhan, China.
“Iwasan muna ang byahe sa China. Kung saka-sakaling meron kayong negosyo sa Wuhan, baka mas magandang ipagpaliban muna natin sa ngayon at maghantay tayo hangga’t ang Chinese Ministry of Health ay makapagbigay ng malinaw na advisory (about the mysterious disease) [Avoid travelling to China for now. If ever you have a business trip to Wuhan, it is better to postpone it for now and let us wait until the Chinese Ministry of Health gives us a clear advisory (about the mysterious disease)],” said Duque in a radio interview.
Duque said that they were also closely coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Health Regulation.
The health chief said that some of the symptoms reported in patients afflicted with the mysterious disease were fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, and having lesions in their lungs.
“Napag-alaman ko mula sa World Health Organization Country Representative (to the Philippines) Dr. (Rabindra) Abeyasinghe na 59 na ang nagkakaroon ng ganitong mga sintomas pero ang pagkilala o pagtukoy doon sa virus ay kasalukuyang ginagawa pa rin [I learned from World Health Organization Country Representative (to the Philippines) Dr. (Rabindra) Abeyasinghe that there are already 59 people who have these symptoms but the identification of the virus is still being conducted],” said Duque.
Meanwhile, Duque advised the public to observe proper handwashing and cough etiquette as these are simple interventions to prevent the spread of illnesses.
“Yung mga simpleng praktikal na mga bagay-bagay ay nakakatulong sa paghinto o pagkalat ng mga sakit lalo na yung mga virus na pwede talagang makahawa sa pamamagitan ng respiratory droplets. Palakasin ang katawan at resistensya. [These simple and practical interventions will help in stopping the spread of diseases, especially the virus that can infect through respiratory droplets. (Also) strengthen your body’s immunity],” he said.
Last Sunday, the DOH said the Bureau of Quarantine has been placed on-alert and was already closely monitoring all incoming travelers, especially those manifesting fever or signs of respiratory infection, in all seaports and airports in the country.