Solons urged to keep out of countries with 2019-nCoV; House screening ignored

Published February 3, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio

The House of Representatives released on Monday afternoon a health advisory urging congressmen and other workers to stay away from countries with confirmed cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), among other things.

The Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao commences in the Plenary of the Batasang Pambansa on December 13, 2017. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

The advisory was released at the same day that guards at the House of Representatives began to subject visitors to a temperature check using digital infrared thermometer guns.

However, not everyone entering the building was properly checked, since some of them ignored the guards, or simply told them that they were in a hurry.

Signed by House Secretary-General Jose Luis Montales, the health advisory covers [House] members, employees, consultants, contractors, suppliers, visitors, and guests.

The three-page advisory said that it’s “highly recommended” for those concerned to “avoid/defer travel to countries/territories with documented cases of 2019-nCoV infection.”

Currently listed in this category are China, where the deadly virus originated; Hong Kong; Macau; Taiwan; Australia; Cambodia; Canada; Finland; France; Germany; India; Italy; Japan; Malaysia; Nepal; Russia; Singapore; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sweden; Thailand; The Republic of Korea; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; and Vietnam.

“For those who travelled to the above-mentioned countries/territories and arrived in the Philippines on 20 January 2020 onwards, or who have been exposed to confirmed of suspected cases, practice self-quarantine measures for [14] days upon arrival or exposure,” the advisory read.

“They should immediately inform the HRep (House) clinic and the Office of the Secretary General of the self-quarantine,” it added.

It should be noted that the Philippines has two confirmed 2019-nCoV cases, both of whom are Chinese. One of them has died already.

Meanwhile, the House advisory also prods sick individuals to “immediately see a doctor and stay [at] home” instead of going to the House of Representatives.

“After a febrile illness, there should be a one day fever-free interval (without taking anti-fever medications) before resumption of regular activity. Medical clearance should be secured from the HRep clinic or any medical facility before reporting back to work,” it said.

The advisory also encouraged those concerned to avoid crowded places and to practice proper sneezing etiquette, as well as overall good personal hygiene.

It also encouraged the use of appropriate face masks and the proper disposal of the same.