DOH to airlines companies: Include contact numbers in booking flights

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

FACED with the task of finding almost 400 passengers, the Department of Health (DOH) is now urging local airline companies to consider including contact numbers of their passengers in booking flights in order to ensure they can be traced easier.

DOH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said it would have been easier for the government to find the co-passengers of the 37-year-old nurse, identified only as "AP", who was diagnosed to be positive of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (Mers-Cov), if their contact numbers are given to local airlines.

"Dahil sa ganitong scenario of public health, maaring ma-improve yung ganitong surveillance system. We might ask them to improve their system para makatulong din sa atin," said Lee Suy in an interview.

He noted how, unlike international flights, domestic flights only require names and addresses of the passengers.

On Wednesday, the health department reported the second case of a Filipino national coming home from the Middle East afflicted with MERS-COV.

To note, the DOH is already tracing all the 249 passengers in the flight manifest of Saudia Airlines Flight SV870, where "AP" is included.

Similarly, they are also contacting all the 143 passengers of the Cebu Pacific Flight SJ997 that flew with "AP" to General Santos City.

Nevertheless, Lee Suy lauded the concerned airline firms for immediately providing the DOH with all the information they have regarding the passengers of the said flights.

On the other hand, Health Secretary Enrique Ona appealed to Filipinos presently working in the Middle East not to come home without being cleared of the Mers-Cov and other similar diseases.

"I'd like to make a public plea, to those who are working in Arabian Peninsula, countries in the Middle East… magpa-test and hintayin ang results. Yon ang dapat nating bigyan ng attention," said Ona.

He made the appeal particularly to health workers working in Middle East hospitals that have high likelihood of handling Mers-Cov patients.

"The call is especially particular to health workers that may have had contacts with patients in hospitals to make sure they are tested and wait for the results before they go home," said Ona.

To note, "AP" came home from Dammam, Saudi Arabia along with a fellow Pinay nurse last Friday and was only found positive of the Mers-Cov last Tuesday based on the test results done to them in their workplace back in August 25.

Back in April, a 45-year-old Filipino male nurse also came home to the Philippines from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and learned of being positive of the Mers-Cov also upon his return to the country despite also undergoing tests in his workplace. (HDT/Sunnex)

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