MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reported that 24 more patients under investigation (PUIs) tested negative for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), while the second confirmed case died on Saturday.
In a press briefing at the Philippine Blood Center in Quezon City, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) showed that of the 26 cases, 24 PUIs tested negative while two patients were positive of the deadly virus.
“Sa Australia mayroon tayong anim na negative: una ‘yung bata, second ‘yung batch na lima (In Australia there are six negative: first is the child, second is the batch of five). So that brings it to 30,” Domingo added.
Domingo said the two confirmed cases include the 38-year-old Chinese female and her companion, a 44-year-old Chinese male who were both admitted for isolation and supportive treatment at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila City.
Both arrived in the country from Wuhan, China on January 21.
The male patient was admitted for pneumonia on January 25 but died on Saturday.
While the male patient was stable and showed signs of improvement during his admission, his condition deteriorated within 24 hours and resulted in his death.
“‘Yung first positive case, wala na siyang sakit (The first positive case, [she’s] no longer sick, no symptoms, no fever, no cough, but still under close monitoring,” Domingo said.
For his part, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the DOH is currently working with the Chinese Embassy “to ensure the dignified management of the remains according to national and international standards to contain the disease”.
Duque also assured the public that all measures needed to contain the spread of the virus are strictly implemented and observed, citing that the San Lazaro Hospital practiced rigorous infection control protocols while caring for the patients.
Meanwhile, DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Ferchito Avelino reported that they are conducting “contact tracing” of passengers aboard the flights of the two positive cases.
“We have secured the manifestos of the flights. We’re in close coordination with the concerned airlines. Contact tracing activities are ongoing in Cebu and Dumaguete, and in other places where they stayed and traveled to,” Avelino said.
As the DOH monitors every development on the 2019-nCoV cases, Duque said the government has already implemented a temporary travel ban for travelers coming from China, Macao, and Hong Kong.
“This health event is fast-evolving and fluid. We are continuously recalibrating our plans and efforts as the situation develops,” he added.
Duque assured the public that the DOH will provide constant updates on the disease and release frequent health advisories.
“All I ask from the public now is to heed the advisories from official DOH channels and to refrain from sharing unverified and unvalidated information. I assure the public that we will keep you abreast of any information that we have,” Duque said.
To date, Duque said there are no reports of community spread of the virus nationwide.
However, he reminded the public to continue practicing prevention measures such as proper hand hygiene and observance of cough etiquette. Ma. Teresa Montemayor /PNA – northboundasia.com