Press Release / 28 January 2020
The Department of Health (DOH) today informed the public that there are still no confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country as it convened the first Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases Meeting with the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Local and Interior Government, Justice, Labor and Employment, Tourism, Transportation, and Information and Communications Technology.
Also among those present to discuss updates on the 2019-nCoV were representatives from attached agencies, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Civil Aviation Authority, Civil Aviation Board, and the Philippine Coast Guard, as well as officials from the World Health Organization (WHO).
At present, there are 2,798 confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV globally, 37 of which were reported in 11 countries outside of China. The current global case fatality rate of the 2019-nCoV is 2.9%, with all 80 deaths recorded in China. WHO has classified the risk level for the spread of the 2019-nCoV as very high in China, and high at the regional and global levels.
DOH revealed that it is closely monitoring 22 Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) – 13 in Metro Manila, 3 in Western Visayas, 3 in Central Visayas, 1 in MIMAROPA, 1 in Eastern Visayas, and 1 in Northern Mindanao.
As of today, three of the PUIs have already been discharged as their laboratory results revealed other diseases. DOH is now awaiting results for 13 PUI from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for screening, and 6 PUI laboratory results from the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory for confirmation.
During the Inter-Agency Committee meeting, members resolved and agreed to ensure support for Overseas Filipinos in China, as well as comprehensive transport and quarantine plans for Overseas Filipinos from Hubei province who wish to voluntarily return to the Philippines. The Committee also agreed on proposing temporary restrictions on the issuance of visas for travelers from Hubei Province, and issuing advisories temporarily discouraging non-essential travel to China.
“I wish to inform our kababayans that the government will take care of you whether you choose to stay or return home. For those who choose to return, you will be taken care of in a health facility for monitoring and further medical management,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.
For Filipinos who wish to stay in China, DOH reiterates adherence to advisories and cooperation with public health activities being done by local authorities. DOH will ensure that all Filipinos in other countries will receive sufficient information and health support through telemedicine.
“I urge the public to remain vigilant. Let us continue practicing good hand hygiene, observing proper cough etiquette, maintaining distance from people manifesting flu-like symptoms, cooking food properly, and adopting healthy lifestyles,” the Health Secretary concluded.