THE Department of Health yesterday confirmed that a sample from a 60-year-old female Chinese patient under investigation tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
She is the third confirmed 2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease (2019-nCoV ARD) case in the country.
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the patient arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan, China via Hong Kong last January 20 and traveled to Bohol thereafter. On January 22, the patient consulted a private hospital in Bohol after experiencing fever and coryza.
Duque added that a sample taken from the patient last Jan. 24 was tested at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Australia and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). Results from the tests came back negative last Jan. 29 and 30, and upon recovery of the patient, she was discharged and was allowed to return to China via Cebu last Jan. 31.
However, on February 3, DOH was notified by RITM that a sample taken earlier, Jan. 23, tested positive for 2019-nCoV making her the third confirmed 2019-nCoV ARD in the Philippines.
Duque said the Chinese national is no longer in the country but the Epidemiology Bureau has initiated contact tracing of persons who interacted with or were in close proximity to the patient. The Bureau of Quarantine and EB are coordinating with the concerned airline while the Central Visayas Center for Health Development is in coordination with the hotel where the patient stayed and the hospital where she was admitted.
Meanwhile, the DOH reported that as of 12NN today, there is a cumulative total of 133 PUIs for the 2019-nCoV Acute Respiratory Disease. Of the 133 PUIs, 115 are currently admitted and isolated, while 16 have been discharged under strict monitoring.
Among the PUIs 63 are Filipinos, 54 are Chinese, and 16 from other nationalities. Thirty-two (32) of which were reported to have traveled to Wuhan, China.
“I would like to remind the public that practicing proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette is still the best way to protect oneself from this virus. I am calling all Filipinos to cooperate. In such trying times, we should not let our fears overwhelm us and cause us to over-react. We need to work together,” the health chief advised.
As of today, the EB has assessed 203 contacts and home quarantined 188 contacts from the 1st and 2nd confirmed cases. Of the 203 contacts, 15 are symptomatic where 14 were already isolated for monitoring. DOH is currently working with other concerned agencies to expedite the contact tracing process.
The DOH urged the passengers from Cebu Pacific flight 5J241 from Hong Kong to Cebu on Jan. 20 and 21, 2020; Cebu Pacific flight DG6519 from Cebu to Dumaguete on Jan 21, 2020; and Philippine Airlines flight PR2542 from Dumaguete to Manila on Jan. 25, 2020 to cooperate with DOH representatives who will be getting in touch with them for assessment.