Pinoy Mers-Cov victim ready for discharge

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

MANILA -- The overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (Mers-Cov) is now ready to be discharged from quarantine, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“The two tests done to the index passenger yielded negative results, hence, the passenger is now ready for discharge,” said Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH Emerging Infectious Diseases Program manager.

Lee Suy said the re-test was done to make sure that the OFW is already cleared of the virus.

The OFW's family members were also discharged after testing negative for the virus.

On April 15, the Philippines became the first Southeast Asian country and the 12th in the world with a Mers-Cov case in the person of the OFW who came home from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the Holy Week.

“This OFW, a health worker, had personal contact with a confirmed Mers-CoV patient and came home for the Holy Week,” said Health Secretary Enrique Ona in a press conference.

Meanwhile, the DOH said it can now focus on the contact tracing efforts on the co-passengers of the OFW at Etihad Airlines Flight EY0424.

Lee Suy said they are determined to find, test, and if necessary, quarantine all 415 passengers even if this would mean “forcing” them to come with health authorities.

“Hindi naman natin sasabihing forced sila na ma-quarantine. Pero meron tayo, specifically ang PNP, na police power to implement the Quarantine Law. Pwede siyang gamitin especially if there is public health crisis or threat involved,” he said.

Section 4 of the Quarantine Act of 2004 states that the DOH “may prescribe examination of any individual believed to be infected with a disease of international concern.”

It further provides that “if upon examination, any such individual is found to be infected or has been exposed to infection considered as dangerous contact, he may be isolated aboard a vessel, in a hospital with facilities for infectious diseases, at a quarantine station, or at any isolation facility.”

Over the Holy Week break, President Benigno Aquino III directed the DOH to form Task Force Mers-Cov to intensify the contact tracing efforts on the co-passengers of the OFW.

Of the 415 passengers on board EY0424, the DOH has already traced 119 with 72 having been tested already. Forty yielded negative results. (HDT/Sunnex)

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