The Department of Health (DOH) central office is sending its epidemiological team here to conduct a contact-tracing to identify the persons who had come into contact with the Chinese woman who tested positive of the novel coronavirus � the first in the country � during her recent visit here.
At a press briefing called for by Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo on Friday, Dr. Socrates Villamor, provincial chief of the DOH, said the epidemiological team from Manila is arriving this Friday afternoon while a counterpart from the DOH in Region 7 is arriving later in the day.
The DOH teams will be visiting at least two hotels, a resort, and perhaps some restaurants and other places on Saturday, where the woman and her boyfriend had visited during their stay in the province from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25.
Authorities have also identified the driver of a Motorcab-for-Hire (MCH), commonly known as a pedicab, that had ferried the Chinese nationals while here.
Also, passengers on different flights in two different airlines that the infected woman took to and from here have also been identified.
Degamo and Villamor declined to identify these establishments, saying the owners are cooperative but have requested privacy to prevent backlash on their businesses.
The officials, however, reassured the public that all steps are being taken to ensure that these establishments have been sanitized/disinfected while employees will also undergo screening.
The media has also been declined coverage of the contact-tracing to minimize undue public panic, stigma, bullying, and to respect the privacy of those who came in contact with the infected woman as well.
Villamor said that after the contact-tracing and evaluation, those who may exhibit flu-like symptoms will be advised to go on home arrest, and should stay confined in their homes and given medication until they get better.
As gathered by the DOH, the woman and her companion's flight history showed they left Wuhan, China to Hong Kong on Jan. 20; to Cebu the following day, Jan. 21; and to Dumaguete on January 22.
They departed for Manila on January 25.
The 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan in Hubei province, where the nCoV-2019 was first reported and had originated, is now confined at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, after she developed a cough, Villamor said.
Her boyfriend is also admitted to the hospital but there is no report yet as to whether he has contracted the disease and is asymptomatic, he added.
Meanwhile, Villamor said the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) here is the referral hospital for Patients Under Investigation (PUI) for the 2019-nCoV.
Three private hospitals in the city were also asked to immediately report to the DOH here or to the Provincial Health Office any suspect cases of the coronavirus.
Degamo is expected to come up with an Executive Order at the end of the day outlining the protocols and other steps to follow in relation to response, mitigation, and management of suspect nCoV-2019 cases or in the event of a positive case.
Source: Philippines News Agency