By Noel Cabobos
KALIBO, AKLAN—The good news is, to this to date, the province of Aklan and the entire country is still free from the dreaded coronavirus also known as 2019-nCoV which has reportedly killed 81 people and fast infecting so many others worldwide.
But as anxieties begin to grow in this part of the country with the presence of Chinese tourists visiting Boracay Island, a health official here brushed aside fears about the presence of hospital personnel with full protective suits while attending to patients.
“It’s just a standard safety protocol. We are just following preventive protocol to reduce potential transmission risk during routine hospital care,” declared Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr., the Aklan Provincial Health Officer based at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH) here.
“It doesn’t mean that if our personnel are wearing Personnal Protective Equipment (PPEs) is that there’s already an outbreak or the patients we are tending to are already positive of the Wuhan virus. It just doesn’t follow,” he cleared.
Yesterday, the Department of Health confirmed the presence of 11 patients all over the country that are under investigation for suspected novel coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China. Of the 11 patients, 3 are currently admitted at the DRSTMH which include a 32 year-old female, a 24 year-old female, and a 6-year-old male kid.
Cuachon, however, downplayed it saying the three are already recovering and are free of fever.
“They are just being put under observation on our isolation rooms and are about to be given a green light to go out of the hospital anytime soon,” he said.
Cuachon even said that the three can freely proceed to Boracay Island and they are not being repatriated back to China as what others have been speculating.
On Thursday, a Chinese kid who has been confined at DRSTMH had already undergone further test which was sent to the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit in Iloilo City and is awaiting confirmation.
Also, the 2 other Chinese kids who were confined on Sunday have also been tested, Cuachon said, and their specimen samples are about to be sent today at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicines of the Department of Health.
Last night, the last batch of Chinese tourists which is around 500 were flown back to Wuhan, the ground zero of the deadly coronavirus. All flights to and from China via Kalibo International Airport are currently suspended until further notice.
Relatedly, Cuachon reminded everyone to be always pro-active by using face masks against viruses.
“Let’s protect ourselves by being clean all the time and by practicing good habits to reduce the risk of being infected by any viruses. Let’s cover our nose and mouth when coughing and or sneezing, avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms; and always consult the doctor,” he advised.