7 from cruise ship under health watch

February 29, 2020
Diamond Princess cruise ship
Diamond Princess

THE Department of Health has reported that three more male repatriates from the M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined at the New Clark City showed signs and symptoms of respiratory illness, bringing to seven the number of Patients Under Investigation from the cruise ship.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, however, said the referral hospitals are well-equipped and prepared to handle coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases once they arise.

“While we are still waiting for the other test results, we assure the public that our referral hospitals are well-equipped and prepared to handle COVID-19 cases once they arise. Our health response team at the quarantine facility is being extra cautious to prevent further health risks,” he said.

The cases are a 39-year-old who experienced cough and a 34- and 27-year- old who complained of throat discomfort. All are afebrile, and two have tested negative. Additionally, DOH has just received information that there are two more repatriates who were brought to a referral health facility because of sore throat. Their specimens were collected and sent for testing at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Meanwhile, the DOH also reported that as of 12:00 noon of February 28, there were only 30 PUIs admitted in various health facilities. A total of 585 patients have already been discharged. To date, 531 PUIs have tested negative for the 2019 novel coronavirus, and 40 cases with pending test results.

“We are observing a steady decrease in the number of PUIs admitted in our health facilities and DOH is bent on sustaining this downward trend. While there is a looming prospect of positive COVID-19 cases among our repatriated kababayans, we call on everyone to continue to be vigilant partners of DOH in keeping the threat of COVID-19 at bay,” Duque said.

Around the globe, the DOH said that as of February 27, there are a total of 85 confirmed COVID-19 cases among overseas Filipinos (OF) in different countries. Japan recorded the most OF cases with a total of 80 (70 admitted, 10 discharged), followed by UAE and Hong Kong, with two cases each, and Singapore with one case. The most recent case was a 29-year-old Filipina who was admitted to a health facility in Hong Kong. The patient is currently in stable condition.

“COVID-19 continuously affects our kababayans overseas. The Philippine government remains at their service, and would devotedly extend our assistance wherever they are in the world,” the health chief said.