Via InterAksyon.com, a PNA report: PH remains MERS-CoV free, but health check continues - DOH. Excerpt:
Over a month after a returning overseas Filipino worker (OFW) initially tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the Department of Health (DOH) said it continues to focus on maintaining the Philippines MERS-CoV free status.
After being placed under quarantine, the OFW, who is a nurse based in United Arab Emirates (UAE), was cleared from the virus but efforts of the DOH did not stop there.
The DOH traced about 414 passengers of the same flight the Filipino nurse took, Etihad Airways EY 0424, for nose-throat-swab testing.
While only 401 out of the 414 were tested, the DOH said that since the remaining 13 showed no signs of symptoms of the disease after the virus’ 14-day incubation period, they were as good as cleared.
Plan for the pilgrimage to Mecca
Dr. Lyndon-Lee Suy, in an interview with the Philippines News Agency, said the DOH still continues to implement precautionary measures -- one of which is approving the issuance of a Bureau of Quarantine alert bulletin to those traveling from the Middle East through international airports.
The agency is also going to come up with a plan to prevent Filipinos from contacting the disease, especially those who will go on a pilgrimage to Mecca later this year.
With help from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the DOH has also requested recruitment agencies to call up OFWs they have deployed to check on their health status at least once a week.
Dr. Lee-Suy said this would serve as another way of connecting and reaching out to OFWs and know how they are doing.
The DOH is also hoping for the early approval of a draft manual it submitted earlier to the Office of the President on the preparedness and response plan against the MERS-CoV for the protection of OFWs.
Two health experts from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), meanwhile, have been sent to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia earlier this week to check on the status of OFWs amid cases of MERS-CoV there.
They will also be looking into selected hospitals there to check if infection control is strictly being practiced and sit down with their counterparts to discuss ways to further improve the prevention of the virus’ spread.