By Martin Sadongdong
“Several” patients were admitted at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center (V. Luna General Hospital) in Quezon City for possible case of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), a military health official revealed on Sunday.
Captain Sherwin Joseph Sarmiento, spokesperson of the Health Service Command of the AFP-Public Affairs Office (PAO), confirmed that they were keeping an eye on an undisclosed number of persons under monitoring (PUM) and persons under investigation (PUI) isolated at the infection ward of the military healthcare facility.
Sarmiento refused to divulge the exact number of PUMs and PUIs being assessed citing the principle of confidentiality and data privacy.
“Ang mga PUM po, sila po ang mga taong may history ng travel doon sa mga bansa na sinabi ng Department of Health: China, Hong Kong at Macau (The PUMs are those with travel history to China, Hong Kong and Macau as advised by the Department of Health [DOH]),” Sarmiento said in a radio interview over dzBB, referring to countries where the government implemented a travel ban.
“Ang mga PUI naman po ay mga pasyente na nagkaroon ng travel history at the same time, may mga sintomas tulad ng ubo, sipon, lagnat, pananakit ng lalamunan, at hirap sa paghinga (The PUIs, on the other hand, are patients who have a travel history there and at the same time, were exhibiting symptoms like cough, colds, fever, throat irritation and difficulty in breathing),” he added.
The V. Luna General Hospital is tasked to provide medical care to military and civilian personnel of the AFP, including their immediate dependents, when the nCov outbreak happened in Wuhan, China.
In the Philippines, the first confirmed nCoV case was noted on January 30, 2020 — a 38-year-old Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan. As of Saturday, the Department of Health said there were three confirmed nCoV cases in the country including one fatality, the male companion of the woman.
“Kapag po kasi exposure ang pinag-uusapan, ultimo mga kasama sa bahay. Pati po mga kamag-anak na nagkaroon ng exposure doon sa mismong military ay kina-quarantine o kaya ay ina-assess natin (When we talk about exposure, included here are the persons you live with. Even the relatives who were exposed to the military are being quarantined or assessed),” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento, who is a doctor, allayed fears by other patients admitted at V. Luna Hospital since the PUMs and PUIs were quarantined in a building separate from the main hospital.
The infection ward was previously being used to treat soldiers and their dependents with tuberculosis, measles and other multi-drug resistant diseases.
However, it has since been cleared and transformed to a quarantine area for military personnel and their dependents who are suspected to have acquired the deadly respiratory disease.
READ MORE: DOH: nCoV PUIs now at 264