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Ph officials assures PH is prepared for MERS-CoV

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – A Palace official on Monday assured that the country is prepared to deal with the Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
“The Philippines is fully prepared to thwart and contain the Middle East Respiratory Corona virus and government has put in place all the necessary preventive measures, including contact-tracing and other infection control protocols to isolate those exhibiting symptoms of MERS-CoV,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement.
Secretary Coloma noted that since the first quarter of 2014, when MERS-CoV was first reported in the Middle East, the Department of Health (DoH) has conducted intensive monitoring and information dissemination campaigns among Filipino nationals, especially among health workers and hospital employees.
“It may be recalled that last year, the DoH conducted successful contact-tracing, and isolation when it was learned that a Filipino hospital employee, who had tested positive for MERS-CoV in the Middle East, had entered the country. The patient was confined at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and later tested negative. Similar cases reported in August 2014 and February 2015 were likewise successfully contained,” he said.
Coloma said that according to Health Secretary Janette Garin, the Philippines remains “MERS-CoV-free”.
“As a member state of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippines abides by its advice ‘to continue surveillance for acute respiratory infections and to review any unusual patterns’,” he said.
He quoted the WHO as saying that given the lack of evidence of human-to-human transmission in South Korea, it “does not advise special procedures at points of entry, or travel, or trade restrictions” in that country.
Coloma however reiterated the government’s call for all Filipinos in the Middle East and those travelling to South Korea to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures, heed local health regulations, and observe personal hygiene measures.
“Filipinos coming in from South Korea are advised to accurately accomplish quarantine forms that will facilitate contact tracing,” he added.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.