Confirmed polio cases in PH climb to 16 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020   •   248

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it recorded four more confirmed cases of polio, bringing to 16 the total number of cases since the outbreak was declared in September 2019.

The DOH said two of the new cases were from Maguindanao – both males, two and three years old, as reported by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The third case is a two-year-old boy from Sultan Kudarat while the fourth case is a three-year-old boy from Quezon City.

The children were said to have manifested with fever, diarrhea, muscle pain, asymmetric ascending paralysis and weakness of extremities.

In light of this, the DOH reiterated its call for parents to have their children vaccinated against the disease through its Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign.

The department said the campaign’s succeeding rounds are scheduled from January 20 to February 2 in all regions of Mindanao, and from January 27 to February 7 in the National Capital Region.

“I urge all parents and caregivers of children under five years old to take part in the coming SPKP campaign rounds scheduled in your respective areas. Have your children, including those with private physicians or pediatricians, vaccinated with oral polio vaccine by health workers and bakunators,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

“Additional polio doses can provide additional protection to your children. There is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine,” he added.

In September 2019, the department confirmed the re-emergence of the disease in the Philippines 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

2 of 3 Filipinos from Japan showing COVID-19 symptoms test negative

Robie de Guzman   •   February 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Two of the three Filipino repatriates from the virus-stricken cruise ship in Japan tested negative for COVID-19 despite manifesting symptoms of the deadly coronavirus disease while under quarantine, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday, February 28.

The DOH said that based on laboratory test results that came out this morning, two Filipinos turned out negative for the infection while one is still awaiting results.

The two repatriates who tested negative no longer need to undergo another set of laboratory test but will be placed under strict monitoring, the agency added.

The DOH also assured all three are in stable condition.

Based on the Philippines’ quarantine guidelines, persons exhibiting signs and symptoms of the disease should be separated from asymptomatic individuals for observation.

Those who are found infected with the virus will be placed in isolation in a health facility while those who tested negative will continue the quarantine period at a facility in New Clark City.

The three were brought to a hospital in Central Luzon on Thursday morning after they experienced sore throat and dry cough.

They were among the more than 400 Filipinos evacuated from the coronavirus-hit MV Diamond Princess cruise ship off Yokohama, Japan last Tuesday, February 25, and placed under 14-day quarantine at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

The cruise ship was placed on quarantine after a passenger tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the 3,700 passengers and crew members, more than 700 were found infected with coronavirus, including 80 Filipinos.

All asymptomatic persons aboard the vessel have already disembarked, while those infected were admitted at hospitals in Japan for proper treatment. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Pinoy crew, passengers of Diamond Princess all want to go home —DOH

Maris Federez   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — All the Filipino crew and passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship that is moored in Japan who tested negative for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have signified their desire to return home to the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

495 Filipinos are still on the cruise ship even as the two-week quarantine period has passed.

The 43 Filipinos who tested positive for the virus are still admitted in the hospital.

“So even those that had earlier indicated that they would want to stay behind there has been a change of heart by almost all of them,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

Duque said two chartered planes will be used in repatriating the Pinoy crew and passengers who have voluntarily signified their willingness to return to the Philippines.

The DOH official also said they are not discounting any possibility that some of them will still have a change of heart on the very day of their departure.

“They cannot be sure until iyong magbo-board na because siyempre may mga nagde-decide diyan. Iyong iba they might want to stay behind, others might have second thoughts. Iyong dating ayaw gusto na ngayon. So, let’s just have an indicative number of 500,” Duque said.

The DOH, however, clarified that once any of these Filipinos show any symptoms of COVID-19 before the scheduled repatriation will be automatically deleted from the list and will remain in Japan for treatment.

Those asymptomatic will still undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival to the Philippines. — (from the report of Dante Amento) /mbmf

Filipinos from Wuhan ‘all well and safe’, cleared to go home after quarantine – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan City in China are now allowed to go home as they showed no signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after their 14-day quarantine period, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

In a statement, the DOH said the 30 Filipinos and 19 others who returned from Wuhan – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak – will be released after they manifested no signs of fever, cough, or sore throat during their 14-day stay at the quarantine facility in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

A send-off ceremony will be held on February 22, Saturday to mark the completion of their mandatory quarantine, the department said.

“We are glad that our repatriates are all well and safe from COVID-19. Our repatriation mission is not possible without the dedication and cooperation of the entire Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases with all its member agencies,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“We are extremely grateful for the collective effort of the government,” he added.

The DOH, meanwhile, revealed that another batch of Filipinos is set to be quarantined in the facility following their arrival this weekend.

This batch is composed of about 460 to 480 Filipinos from the virus-hit M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship who availed of the government’s repatriation program.

The health department said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has already adopted a repatriation plan for the return of the Filipinos from Yokohama, Japan.

They are also coordinating with the World Health Organization, the Philippine Embassy in Japan and the Magsaysay Maritime Corporation for the repatriation process.

Under the repatriation plan, the DOH shall provide health human resources and transportation to the quarantine site, on-site medical needs of the repatriates, hospitalization expenses through Philhealth, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the first five days of the quarantine period.

Magsaysay Maritime Corporation will bear the cost of transportation expenses, food, lodging, personal hygiene kits and disinfectants, and other expenses.

The Department of Transportation will shoulder the transportation of repatriates from Haribon hangar in Pampanga to New Clark City, while the OWWA will provide livelihood packages to the repatriates, and their transportation from Manila to their respective destinations after the quarantine period.

“We would like to assure Filipinos abroad that our government is working tirelessly to ensure that no Filipino gets left behind in our fight against COVID-19. DOH and the Philippine government are prepared to undertake all measures to care for our kababayans, no matter where they are,” Duque said.

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