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Coronavirus now in Tarlac – reports

The Manila Times logo The Manila Times 2/3/2020 Jerry Hernandez
a man looking at the camera © Provided by The Manila Times

TARLAC: Health experts in this province are now on high alert over reports that the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) has reached the province.

The reports said six suspected carriers had been confined at a hospital here.

On Sunday, the patients, including Americans, Japanese and a Filipino with histories of travel to Hong Kong last January 10 to 22, with flu-like symptoms were initially brought to a hospital in Paniqui town.

They were then told to go to the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU) but instead chose to proceed to the Jecson’s Medical Center (JMC) in Tarlac City and calls were made to the Department of Health (DoH) but no commitment for space was given for their transfer.

The JMC, through Dr. Jose Chua Jr., then decided to confine the patients at the facility’s still dormant Station 1.

Subsequently, Chua was informed that the DoH-RESU personnel were on their way to the JMC to get sample specimens for laboratory examination at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City.

“We don’t want this to happen, but faced with the challenge, united we are strong,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tarlac City Mayor Cristy Angeles issued an executive order on Monday mandating all private and public hospitals, including clinics, to report to her office any patient suspected of carrying the virus.

She said instructions were given to city health officer Carmela Go and Hensel Quiling, city disaster risk reduction and management office head, to conduct tight monitoring and quarantine of persons under investigation or PUI until the laboratory results are provided by the RITM.

Gov. Susan Yap, on the other hand, urged citizens to practice proper hygiene and sanitation to prevent getting infected with the virus.

Local officials called on residents to remain calm and avoid panicking, offering more prayers for their safety.

In Negros Occidental, the governor on Monday confirmed that two patients in the province are now PUI for suspected coronavirus.

Eugenio Jose Lacson made the confirmation after a close-door meeting with officials from the Provincial Health Office and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

The governor said one patient is a foreigner from Taiwan while the second one is a overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who arrived recently from Hong Kong.

The foreigner was brought to the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital last Friday followed by the Filipino patient last Saturday.

Both patients initially went to a private hospital in the city but were referred to a government health facility.

Lacson said both patients exhibited “flu-like” symptoms.

The governor added that medical staff of the hospital have already taken the patients’ swab samples.

The patients were placed under quarantine while awaiting the results of the samples from the RITM.

Lacson said they expect result of the test of the Taiwanese onTuesday and that of the OFW, a woman, by Wednesday.

The governor reiterated his call for calm, urging the public to continue with their normal routine.

Lacson clarified that “there is no confirmed case yet of the virus in the province.”

He ordered all local government units in the province to form their respective task forces against nCoV, and a second meeting will take place today in order to come up with steps against the virus.

Lacson appealed to private hospitals in Negros Occidental “ to be prepared and I hope that when there is a need for them to admit cases like these [two cases], they should be willing to treat them.”

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