By Noel Cabobos
BORACAY ISLAND—Residents and tourists in Boracay Island need not be alarmed.
This was the pronouncement issued by Dr. Leslie Ann Luces of the Aklan Provincial Health Office during the emergency forum today hosted by the Boracay Foundation Incorporated and participated by most of the sectors on the island.
“With the prevailing situation that since Boracay has no confirmed case yet, yes, there is no cause for alarm for now,” she declared.
Luces also downplayed the possibility of an outbreak stressing that “if we will just follow the proper safety protocols especially on the day-to-day personal hygiene” the new coronavirus will definitely not affect us.
ONLY HOUSEKEEPING PERSONNEL, BUT…
On January 24 consultative meeting with stakeholders on the island, Luces had asked resort owners to start a mandatory use of protective gloves and masks for their Housekeeping staff when cleaning rooms to avoid droplet contact transmission. But in a forum today she clarified that any resort staff could better use one for protection.
She also said an isolated room which the DOH had earlier requested to be maintained in every resort is no longer necessary because of the protocols currently in place.
Luces said that if ever someone in the resort begins to experience flu-like symptoms attributed to the new coronavirus it should be reported to the front desk who would then call for assistance at the Don Ciriaco Tirol Hospital. After that, she said the hospital will send an ambulance to pick up the patient and brought it for check-up by the doctors.
“That is the Boracay flow for nCoV,” she said.
For her part, Dr. Athena Magdamit. Aklan chapter president of the Association of Municipal Health Officers of the Philippines, said there is still no substitute to personal hygiene and good habits in countering viruses just like the new coronavirus.
She also demonstrated to the participants the
proper way of hand-washing or the 20-second hand-washing rule which, she said,
is an easy and proven way to prevent infection.
Magdamit said rubbing the hands vigorously including all its surfaces, wrists, backs, including in-betweens for at least 20 seconds is an effective way at killing germs even with a regular soap.
KILL, STOP NEGATIVE PUBLICITY
On the other hand, Rear Admiral Leonard Tirol of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, has appealed on Boracay netizens to be very careful with their social media posts since negative posts could depict a very bad situation for the island.
“I appeal to everyone to please help stop spreading fake news. We have to be sensitive with our posts. We should stop negative publicity because we might send a wrong information especially among the tourists,” he said.
“We have to remember that when Boracay was shut down for 6 months due to its rehabilitation around 19,000 workers lost their jobs during that time, but it might be even worse if we continue to spread misinformation about this disease. So let us kill, stop this negative publicity,” he stressed.
WHO SITUATIONER REPORT
In its Situation Report No. 11, the World
Health Organization (WHO) said that it is expected that further international
exportation of cases may appear in any country.
“Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoVinfection, and to share full data with WHO,” it said.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
In the current situation report it issued, WHO said that globally there are already 9,826 confirmed with China recording a total number of 9,720 confirmed cases and 15,238 suspected cases. Of this number, 1,527 are severe with 213 deaths.
Outside of China, 106 cases have been confirmed in 19 countries, including the Philippines with 1 confirmed case.
In its risk assessment report, WHO had put China as “Very High” while countries all over the world are put on a “High Level” status for possible infection.
So far, world health officials haven’t found a cure yet to combat the growing worldwide epidemic.