No NCOV cases in PH - Duque

January 29, 2020
Francisco Duque
Health Secretary Francisco Duque (2nd L) gestures as he speaks about the country's situation on the SARS-like virus sweeping China, during a press conference in Manila, alongside World Health Organizaton (WHO) country representatives. AFP/Ted ALJIBE

THE Department of Health yesterday disclosed the death of a Chinese national under observation at the San Lazaro Hospial for suspected Coronavirus (2019-nCOV) but it was not yet established that the man died from the deadly virus.

So far the Philippines has no confirmed case of the fatal Wuhan virus that has killed more than a hundred people in China and spread across China and several other countries.

In a press conference, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III assured the public that there is still no confirmed case from the 23 persons under observation at the San Lazaro Hospital, although he confirmed that a Chinese national under investigation for possible novel coronavirus infection has died at San Lazaro Hospital.

At the same press conference, SLH Director Dr. Edmundo Lopez said it was not confirmed if the 29-year-old male patient died of nCoV. Their finding showed that he died of pneumonia.

Duque said that a National Prevention plan, as under the NDRRMC, is already set in place and is only awaiting execution.

“DOH is following all the guidelines and protocols of the plans. We only have to execute it. We will evaluate it after we have executed it. If we lack in anything DOH will identify the gaps and do what needs to be done to achieve our objectives,” he said.

The health chief also stressed that he already instructed all DOH-managed hospitals to establish isolation rooms and that people who do get the infection will be treated accordingly.

The World Health Organization said coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).