By Noel Cabobos
BORACAY ISLAND–As predicted by a DOH official who recently conducted a consultative meeting with stakeholders on this island along with representatives of various sectors and government agencies, the new coronavirus is now in the country, courtesy of course of a Chinese national from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the deadly disease.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque confirmed that found positive of the virus is a 38-year-old Chinese from Wuhan who arrived in the country on January 21 and was brought to a government hospital on January 25 to undergo a check-up for coughs.
Duque said the tourist’s case is considered asymptomatic or a patient who is not showing flu-like symptoms and fever attributed to the new coronavirus. The patient is now in isolation in an unnamed hospital in Manila.
He said the health Department is monitoring and back-tracing the places that the tourists visited specifically Cebu and Dumaguete.
‘CERTAINLY IT WILL BE HERE’
On January 24, Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health-Western Visayas, declared that he was certain that the new coronavirus will finally affect the country saying “it is just a matter of time.”
Although he stressed that there is no need for people on the island to panic because it will not help in addressing the current health issue, he downplayed that the new strain as less fatal compared to the previous SARS outbreak which originated also in China sometime in 2003 and of the MERS-CoV outbreak in the Middle East in 2012.
DOH RECOMMENDATIONS, ADVICE
Meanwhile, Dr. Leslie Ann Luces of the Aklan Provincial Health Office, during the said meeting, had urged the management of hotels and resorts on Boracay to start a mandatory use of protective gloves and masks for their Housekeeping staff when cleaning rooms to avoid being infected by droplets.
She also called on them to maintain an “isolation room for every resort or hotel just in case”.
She also underscored the importance of practicing the following “good habits” to reduce the risk of being infected by the coronavirus: clean hands with soup and water or alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizers; cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed of elbow; avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms; thoroughly cook meat and eggs; and avoid unprotected contact with live or farm animals.