Central Visayas MERS-CoV-free as last Etihad passenger cleared

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

CEBU CITY -- Health officials have declared Cebu and the entire Central Visayas region free of the dreaded Middle East Respiratory-Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after the last passenger from Abu Dhabi was cleared of the disease.

Rennan Cimafranca, chief of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health (DOH), said the confirmatory laboratory test on the passenger yielded negative.

The passenger was released from quarantine last Saturday, Cimafranca said.

The passenger was aboard the Etihad Airlines flight EY 424 from Abu Dhabi to Manila last April 15 and was thought to have purposely avoided authorities in Cebu.

But Cimafranca said this was not the case as the passenger never knew he was being tracked.

Authorities had a hard time locating the last person because he only gave his name and indicated Cebu City as his address.

Personnel from the Police Regional Office (PRO) also traced five people with the same name but identification turned out to be negative.

Even with the last person cleared, Cimafranca said DOH will continue to be vigilant because some passengers and crewmembers listed in the manifest did not declare their addresses.

Cimafranca said DOH and the Bureau of Quarantine are still closely monitoring the passengers who have just arrived from the Middle East.

The DOH has tested all 26 passengers listed in the manifest who were believed to be in the Central Visayas, and all of them turned out to be negative of the dreaded virus. (PNA)

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