NAIA beefs up quarantine measure amid Novel Coronavirus scare

Marje Pelayo   •   January 22, 2020   •   2136

Philippines MERS virus measures at the airport epa04169811 A Filipino medical officer observes Passengers from United Arab Emirates pass through a thermal scanner at the medical quarantine area upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, south of Manila, the Philippines, 17 April 2014. The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines is now on intensive search for passengers of an Etihad flight that arrived in Manila on 15 April 2014, who may have had possible contact with the Filipino male nurse tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. The World Health Organization said on 14 April 2014 that the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of the MERS coronavirus since September 2012 stood at 228, including 92 deaths. Most cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, but there have also been cases in Europe and North Africa. EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Quarantine has heightened measures at ports across the country due to reports of suspected Novel Coronavirus from China.

Additional thermal scanners were installed at terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Quarantine staff were ordered to wear mask at all times as they are the first to interact with arriving passengers.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday (January 21) said they have been observing the conditions of a 5-year-old Chinese boy who showed flu-like symptoms suspected to be the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

The boy travelled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China to study English.

He arrived at 3:00p.m. of January 12 but was hospitalized on the same day at 6:00p.m.

Blood samples from the boy were immediately tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and was confirmed negative for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-COV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

However, he was tested positive for a certain strain of coronavirus. His samples were immediately forwarded to a laboratory in Australia for further tests.

The boy will remain as person under investigation until the DOH receives the result from Australia.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Quarantine has already launched contact tracing of all passengers in the same flight as the Chinese boy.

The agency reminds airlines to be ready with the necessary reports should the authorities require them.

“We are reminding the airlines that the universal protective kits should be available on board, the passenger locator card, the protocol on handling cases on board and of course reporting of cases on board to the ground crew,” stressed Dr. Ferdinand Salcedo, Director of the Bureau of Quarantine.

The DOH, meanwhile, is expecting the result from the Australian laboratory tomorrow Thursday (January 23). MNP (with inputs from Aiko Miguel)

Wuhan lifts outbound travel restrictions, ending months-long lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 8, 2020

Wuhan, the Chinese city hardest hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak, started lifting outbound travel restrictions from Wednesday after almost 11 weeks of lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.

At Wuchang Expressway toll gate in southern Wuhan and Gongjialing toll gate in eastern Wuhan, cars honked horns and rushed out after barricades were removed at midnight.

Most of the trips are homebound ones to nearby cities in Hubei Province, according to local traffic department.

A train traveling from northwest Chinese city of Xi’an to southern Guangzhou City stopped at Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan at about 00:21 on Wednesday as the first train to stop over in Wuhan after the lift of outbound travel restrictions.

Other areas in Hubei lifted outbound transportation restrictions from March 25.

On Jan. 23, Wuhan declared unprecedented traffic restrictions, including suspending the city’s public transport and all outbound flights and trains, in an attempt to contain the epidemic. Similar restrictions were soon introduced in other areas in Hubei. (Reuters)

Air quality in Beijing improves due to coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

As the whole world is struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic, one of the unexpected outcomes for Chinese people is more clean skies.

China had a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide pollution in cities like Beijing during February, when factories and streets were closed as authorities attempted to stop the spread of the virus, according to the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus satellite image.

Analysis by Greenpeace shows that the pollutant emissions in Beijing and its surrounding areas dropped by more than 40% year-on-year in February.

Compared to previous years, the air in the capital has seen a big improvement during the outbreak. Streets and landmarks are no longer covered in smog.

Beijing resident Liu Chuan takes this as a potential health benefit, saying that he could even see stars at night after work.

“It feels like the air is overall much less polluted than it used to be. It also improves people’s mood, and indirectly strengthens the immunity. It’s good for fighting the virus,” added Liu.

However, expert warns the air pollution and carbon emissions may soon reappear as Chinese factories are ramping up output in an effort to offset the economic hit of coronavirus.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that it may cause air pollution frequently if a large scale of high-polluting industries resume production,” said Lyn Liu, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner. (Reuters)

(Production: Irene Wang, Shubing Wang, Joyce Zhou, Natalie Thomas)

China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.

Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.

The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Irene Wang)

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