DOH clarifies 31 people probed for suspected nCoV; Duterte orders travel ban in Hubei

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) clarified that 31 people are being monitored for suspected novel coronavirus cases in the Philippines.

DOH clarified the numbers of patients under investigation
DOH clarified the numbers of patients under investigation | Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia

In a press conference today, January 31, Health spokesperson Eric Domingo clarified that there are only 31, and not 56 as earlier reported. This clarification was necessary to explain the earlier statement of Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Chito Avelino in a report on Dobol B sa News TV that persons under investigation (PUI) for nCoV increased to 56.

"As of 12 noon today we have two additional persons under investigation reported in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 31," Domingo said.
"We have now 31 persons under investigation, including one of them which turned out to be the positive and verified case," he added.

The two new suspected cases are a Chinese national and an American. DOH confirmed that both are admitted at separate hospitals.

Avelino, who was also present during the presscon clarified that the 56 number he gave were considered "novel coronavirus-related health events."

He said the distinction PUIs and nCoV-related health events, is that the latter "involve symptomatic patients with travel history from any region in China in the past two weeks."

On the other hand, the persons under investigation (PUIs) are individuals who specifically have traveled to the epicenter of the outbreak, Hubei province.

Duterte issues travel ban

Following the confirmation of the country's first case of novel coronavirus announced Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an order to temporarily ban entry of all Chinese nationals coming in from the outbreak's epicenter, Hubei province on January 31. The Chinese government had long issued a lock down on the Hubei province since January 24.

Duterte issues travel ban on all Chinese nationals coming in from Hubei
Duterte issues travel ban on all Chinese nationals coming in from Hubei | Photo Courtesy: PCOO

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the decision to extend to ban to include other parts of China will depend on the recommendation of the Chinese government or the World Health Organization.

Panelo said, "Upon the recommendation of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, the President has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei province of China where the nCoV originated."

"Ang kaniyang directive focused doon sa Hubei," Panelo said.

Meanwhile, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go assured the public that the government is on top of the situation. He said the President is set to do a meeting with medical experts and key government officials to discuss all necessary measures to curb the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus by next week.

"Rest assured that the Duterte administration takes this threat seriously," he said.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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