A 60-year-old Chinese woman is the country's third case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Wednesday.
"She is the third confirmed 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) case in the country. The patient arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan, China via Hong Kong last Jan. 20, 2020, and traveled to Bohol thereafter," Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said in a press briefing at the DOH main office in Manila.
After experiencing fever and coryza upon arrival, Domingo said the patient consulted a private hospital in Bohol on January 22.
On January 24, a sample was taken from the patient and was sent for testing at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Australia and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
The results from both tests came back negative last January 29 and 30.
On January 31, the patient was allowed to return to China via Cebu upon recovery.
"However, on February 3, DOH was notified by RITM that a sample taken earlier, January 23, tested positive for 2019-nCoV, making her the third confirmed 2019-nCoV ARD in the Philippines," Domingo said.
He added that the DOH's Epidemiology Bureau (EB) has initiated contact tracing of persons who interacted with or were in close proximity to the patient.
The Central Visayas Center for Health Development has coordinated with the hotel where the patient stayed and the hospital where she was admitted while the DOH EB and the Bureau of Quarantine have coordinated with the concerned airline.
"The patient's close contacts would include the seatmates in the airplane, the flight attendants, pati ang mga nakasama niya sa (also those with her at the) hotel. Flight going back to China is Air Asia, January 31. But we're still validating the flight details. She had companions but they weren't sick, siya lang (only her)," Domingo said.
He clarified that the contact tracing will be only for the people the patient has mingled with during her flight going to the country because she was already negative of the virus upon her flight back to China.
Source: Philippines News Agency