House raises virus alarm

February 04, 2020

THE House of Representatives urged lawmakers, their staff, consultants and all those working in the Batasan to refrain from traveling to countries with cases of 2019 Novel Corona virus (N-CoV).

Through the Office of the Secretary General, the House issued a memo enumerating measures to be considered by the employees in order to avoid the possible spread of the N-CoV.

“We are taking measures to protect our members, employees, consultants, contractors, suppliers and guests from the Novel Coronavirus,” the memorandum order read.  

The memo stressed that in order to prevent the risk of exposure to the virus and reduce the spread of infection, lawmakers, their staff and employees should defer travel to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, The Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2019 N-CoV as a public health emergency of international concern.  

In the Philippines there are two confirmed cases to which one died, a male Chinese.

The House said that those who traveled to the cited countries or territories and arrived in the Philippines on 20 January 2020 onwards,, or who have been exposed to confirmed or suspected cases,  practice self quarantine measure for 14 days upon arrival or exposure.  

“They should immediately inform the HRep clinic and the Office of the Sec of the self-quarantine,” the memo read.

On the other hand, those who did not travel to the blacklisted countries or who have not been exposed to confirmed or suspected cases but are sick should immediately see a doctor and stay at home.

“Medical clearance should be secured from the HREP clinic or any medical facility before reporting back to work,” it added.

Employees should also follow simple rules like avoiding crowded places; when coughing, sneezing, maintain distance, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough or sneeze on your upper sleeves or flexed elbow, dispose of used tissue in proper waste bins; avoid contact with sick persons especially those with colds and flu-like symptoms; use an appropriate face masks as needed.  

Medical experts also advised people to practice good personal hygiene; wash hands with soap and water for approximately 20 seconds, before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; after handling animals or animal waste and after touching garbage.