Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) received an order from the Department of Health to conduct a strict screening on passengers that are arriving in the country from China. This is following a report of a mysterious virus that has affected several people in Hongkong and China.
BOQ is in full alert watching over airports. They are keeping eyes especially on passengers that have a fever and are showing symptoms of respiratory infection. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, “I urge the public, especially those with history of travel from China, to seek immediate medical consult if experiencing any flu-like symptoms.”
The order of screening passengers is a government’s precautionary measure following a report of mysterious illness from Wuhna, China. Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Commission reported that they admitted 44 patients showing symptoms in a span of 2 weeks. As of January 5, 2020, a total of 59 patients were treated for viral pneumonia, 7 of which were critically ill. It’s still not clear what specific virus caused the said illness, though all patients happened to be in a market in Wuhan.
Chinese authorities are now on a full investigation of what caused the said illness and how it was spread. As of now, respiratory pathogens such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), infectious atypical pneumonia (SARS), adenovirus, avian influenza, and influenza have been excluded.
Philippine air and seaports have deployed around 38 to 40 thermal scanners to screen passengers coming from China and nearby countries. A passenger will then be led to the quarantine bureau for further evaluation should a scanner detect a body temperature of at least 36.5 degrees Celsius. He will then be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine if his fever persists along with other respiratory symptoms.
Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo assured the public that there is nothing to worry about. Our country is just being extra cautious.