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Measures set to prevent entry of MERS-CoV into Philippines
Publication Date : 16-04-2014
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has ordered government agencies to put up measures to prevent the spread of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) into the country.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has called on Filipinos in the Middle East to take precautionary measures amid the threat of MERS-CoV, a SARS-like virus first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012, which recently killed one Filipino and infected five others in the United Arab Emirates.
In an advisory issued on Monday, the DFA advised Filipinos across the Middle East “to take necessary precautions and follow the advice of local health authorities in their host countries.”
“The DFA continues to urge Filipino nationals in affected countries to remain calm and to heed the advice of local health authorities, such as washing their hands thoroughly, using sanitisers and observing other general hygiene practices,” said the foreign office in a statement on its website and on social media.
“Those who experience any of the disease’s symptoms are urged to immediately seek medical attention,” it said.
One Filipino, reportedly a paramedic, died on April 10 while five others, also paramedics, remained under quarantine at a hospital in Al Ain, about an hour and a half from Abu Dhabi, the DFA said.
A Philippine Embassy team that checked on the stricken Filipinos on April 12 said they “are doing well and recovering.” The DFA meanwhile is providing assistance to the family of the Filipino fatality, whose name has been withheld.
“The embassy is continuously coordinating with the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi in monitoring cases of Filipinos possibly affected with MERS-CoV,” the DFA said.
As of April 13, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported a total of 228 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections with 92 deaths in 10 countries.
Its symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea. Cases of MERS-CoV have been recorded in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Oman, the DFA said.