Don’t panic, stay clean amid ‘coronavirus quarantines’

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

The Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) 6 advised the public to avoid panic and instead practice personal hygiene following reports that three Boracay-bound Chinese nationals were quarantined at Kalibo International Airport in Aklan province over suspected coronavirus infection.

Regional Epidemiologist of DOH-CHD 6 Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe confirmed that the Chinese nationals were placed on quarantine as part of the standard operating procedure of the airport.

According to Alonsabe, the Chinese nationals were suffering from fever and were immediately brought to Dr. Rafael S. Tumbukon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH).

Nag-undergo sila thorough examination and ginapa-review ila medical history,” he said in a phone interview Monday.

The Kalibo Airport caters to several international flights from different provinces in China.

Recently, a new strain of deadly coronavirus which is similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) reportedly spread in China. Similar suspected cases were also reported in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

Authorities have reported 139 new infections of the new coronavirus strain over the weekend and three people have already died.

But Alonsabe said there is still no confirmation whether the Chinese nationals in Kalibo tested positive for coronaviruses such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), SARS, or the new strain from China.

Indi pa to siya confirmed. Samples and swabs of the Chinese nationals will be sent today for testing,” he said.

Alonsabe emphasized that security officers are on alert against the entry of suspected coronavirus infections at Kalibo Airport.

“Our officers from the Bureau of Quarantine are really on tight watch in our airports indi lang sa amo na nga virus sa China but also against other coronaviruses,” he said.

He advised the public to not panic and practice personal hygiene like proper handwashing and coughing etiquette.

“General advice naton hand washing and cough etiquette nga kon mag-cough ka or sneeze kinahanglan observe proper cough etiquette. Kon nahilanat ka hagan-hagan ka anay exposure sa sagwa kag kon naubo ka pahuway ka anay,” he said.