By Noel Cabobos
KALIBO, Aklan–Eleven Chinese nationals are under close watch at a resort hotel-run by the provincial government of Aklan following a tip from the Hongkong government that four of them had in contact with an infected person a day before they proceeded to Boracay Island.
This was confirmed by Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr., Aklan Provincial Health Officer based at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH), during an interview with Jonathan Cabrera over Todo Latigo Program of 88.5FM Radyo TODO.
The 11, according to Cuachon, are currently treated as “normal tourists” at the Aklan Training Center here after they were given a green light to go out of DRSTMH since they were not showing flu-like symptoms particular to patients among those infected by the novel coronavirus also known as 2019-nCoV, which had Wuhan, China, as its epicenter.
In a check by Radyo TODO this morning, the Chinese tourists are being closely monitored at the Aklan Training Center with two police personnel assigned 24/7 since Friday last week.
CONTACT IN HONGKONG
Of the 11 tourists, 4 reportedly had in contact with another Chinese national who was found positive of the coronavirus in Hongkong on January 21.
In a following contact tracing made by Hongkong authorities, it was found out that 4 of those the tourist had in contact with proceeded to Kalibo on January 22 and in Boracay Island on the same day. The 4 were already staying in the island for 3 days and had in contact with 7 other Chinese nationals they are in close association with while on Boracay Island.
After the trace, Cuachon said all of the 11 Chinese nationals were advised to have themselves checked at the DRSTMH.
“Fortunately they are okay. They don’t have any fever and are not showing flu-like symptoms,” Cuachon said adding, “so we decided, upon the recommendation of the governor, to just have them under close monitoring at the Aklan Training Center while they are enjoying to be a tourist in our province.”
Aklan Training Center or the Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism and Training Center, which is located at Brgy. Old Buswang here, boasts of facilities including a swimming pool and is a popular bonding destination of families during weekends in the downtown Kalibo.
Cuachon said the 11 tourists will be under watch at the said facility until February 3 or by the time the 14-day incubation period of the disease has lapsed.
In the same interview, Cuachon announced that the provincial government under Governor Florencio Miraflores formed a “Task Force” that will specially deal with the coronavirus scare which the Agence France-Presse has reported to have reached death toll exceeding 100 as number of infections continues to skyrockets
The report further said that China admitted that 106 people had died from the virus and is spreading across the country while the number of confirmed cases increased to 4,515.
“Most of the confirmed cases have been in the central Chinese province of Hubei, where several cities, including Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, have been placed under what amounts to a lockdown. Of the total cases, 2,714 are in Hubei,” the report further said.
Cuachon said that with this development, the
Chinese tourists who are now in Aklan, most of whom are currently staying in
Boracay, are actually now fearful to go back to China.
He, however, said that despite the recent development the “Task Force” is not inclined to propose a travel ban on tourists coming from China considering that even the World Health Organization has not declared such so far.
“It is not being considered yet but perhaps if WHO will declare a public health emergency with international concern, we will do that,” Cuachon adds.
Meanwhile, amid growing fears of contracting the 2019 novel coronavirus, WHO officials have appealed to Filipinos not to resort to panic saying “there is no need to wear face masks especially those who are not exhibiting flu-like symptoms attributed to the new disease.
The Department of Health has also called on the public to be sensitive in buying medical supplies considering the limited stocks of medical masks in the market today.