While one of them is dead, one of the two who were confirmed 2019-nCoV affected persons in the Philippines is a very potent carrier of the virus. Reason: the person appears to be a medical front liner in Wuhan where they came, the epicenter and so-called “ground zero” of the dreaded virus that already claimed at least 300 lives and afflicted more than “17,000 persons, (source: Channel News Asia).”
“One of them is very potent, that appears to be the situation,” a source at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) told iNews.Ph on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter.
iNews.Ph saw the photo and name of the reported medical front liner which exactly is the name of one of the two that appeared in the flight manifest. Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier confirmed that the two, a 38-year’old female and a 44-year-old-male arrived together last January 21 from Hongkong.
Cebu Pacific in a statement confirmed that the two boarded their flights; 5J241 (Hong Kong-Cebu and after about three hours took their Cebu-Dumaguete flight, DG 6519. Wuhan just had a lock-down last January 23 that is why they were able to left and took a flight to Hong Kong en route to their trip to the Philippines.
In Dumaguete, they left for Manila on another commercial flight, (PAL-PR 2542) where in Manila both of them had been admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital after they had flu-like symptoms.
The woman who was the first confirmed 2019-nCoV patient in the country is still alive but her companion died last February 1, the first fatality outside of China. In the contact tracing that were done in their co-passengers and other persons whom they also have contact with, eight (8) already showed flu like symptoms raising the number of Patient Under Investigation (PUI’s) in Central Visayas to 11 as per the press conference led by Sec. Duque today in Manila, Feb. 3.
In a separate presscon however in Cebu, DOH 7 regional director, Dr. Jaime Bernadas revealed there are already 15 in the region, 11 of them in Cebu, mostly those who have been in contact with the two confirmed 2019-nCoV cases.
Meanwhile, the MCIA is now under the “State of Airport Emergency.” “In view of this and pursuant to the police authority granted to MCIAA under section 5 of the Republic Act (RA) 6958, otherwise known as “MCIAA Charter”, MCIAA hereby declares a State of Emergency with the airport” a Memorandum Order dated Feb. 3, 2020, issued by MCIAA General Manager and CEO Atty. Steve Dicdican.
Dicdican in a press briefing along with other airport stakeholders bared that all incoming passengers from any China flights will be barred from entering the airport except Filipino citizens and natural residents. Upon entry however, the Filipinos will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in select facilities.
A dedicated arrival gate (Gate No. 17) will serve as the holding area of the passengers prior to their 14-day quarantine. About 700 passengers were earlier already briefed of their status for “self quarantine” measures but about 10 coming from Hong Kong today on board a Cathay Pacific flight were sent to the Eversley Child Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City for their mandatory quarantine as the “State of Airport Emergency” have already been in effect.
The quarantine measures is aside from the thermal scanning of all arriving passengers at the Terminal 2 (T2), the terminal for all international flights. The quarantine measure for 14 days is also in line with the earlier pronouncement of Gov. Gwen Garcia that all passengers from China flights will undergo such including Chinese until Pres. Rodrigo Duterte ordered a temporary ban on all incoming flights from mainland China including Hong Kong and Macau.
The President has previously ordered that the ban will only cover those coming from Wuhan and Hubei province but has ultimately decided to widen it after the death of one of two confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV afflicted persons in the country.
Aside from PUI’s in Central Visayas, 22 are in the National Capital Region (NCR); 15 in Central Luzon; 8 in Western Visayas; 5 each in Northern Mindanao and Davao; 4 in Mimaropa; 3 in Ilocos and 1 each in Eastern Visayas and Cagayan Valley./AAJ