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Go calls for vigilance amid entry of coronavirus in the country

January 26, 2020 - Sunday 6:01 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image HEALTH CHECK. A quarantine officer at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) checks the temperature of a passenger from China. Senator Christopher Lawrence Go has called for vigilance against the spread of the so-called Wuhan coronavirus ad urged Filipinos to follow safety measures and guidelines provided by the Department of Health (DOH). STR / AFP

DAVAO CITY -- Senator Christopher Lawrence Go has called for vigilance against the spread of the so-called Wuhan coronavirus, saying as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, he will closely monitor the situation.

“Bilang chair ng Senate Committee on Health, tungkulin ko ding masigurado na sapat ang mga hakbang at polisiya ng gobyerno upang masiguradong protektado ang kalusugan at kaligtasan ng ating mga mamamayan,” Go said in a statement.

(As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, it is my duty to ensure that the steps the government is taking as well as its policies are enough to make sure the health and safety of our citizens are protected.)

Go also urged Filipinos to follow safety measures and guidelines provided by the Department of Health (DOH) to prevent contamination and further spread of viruses. 

“Sundin lang natin ang ating mga opisyales. Marami naman silang safety measures na ginagawa. Sundin lang natin ang mga wastong measures para maiwasan ang sakit,” he said.

(Let us follow our officials. They are undertaking a number of safety measures. Let us follow the correct measures to avoid the disease.)

Go also urged the DOH to intensify its information campaign to make the public aware of preventive measures to contain the spread of this previously unidentified coronavirus. 

Contributed photo

He said having an informed citizenry will empower communities to be able to address health risk concerns. 

Health authorities are currently on high alert after a five-year-old boy who traveled to Cebu City from Wuhan, China showed some of the symptoms.

The boy was brought to a hospital in Cebu City after he showed signs of fever, throat irritation, and cough before entering the country. A specimen was sent to Australia to determine or identify the exact virus strain.

Asked if the health department committed lapses which resulted in the entry of the virus to the country, Go said the DOH is doing its best to handle the situation. 

“Hindi naman po siguro. Ginagawa naman ng DOH ang kanilang makakaya. Kahit naman sa ibang bansa there is always a possibility po,” he said.

(I don’t think it committed lapses. The DOH is doing everything it can. Even in other countries, there is always a possibility [of the virus entering].)

Meanwhile, a massive quarantine effort covering 13 cities was in effect in China on Saturday aimed at containing a deadly virus, as the death toll climbed to 26 and the first cases of the disease were reported in Europe and South Asia.

GLOBAL CONCERN. A woman with a face mask wears a cheongsam ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year in a train in Bangkok on January 24, 2020, after four people were detected with the Coronavirus in Thailand. Candida NG / AFP

China on Friday imposed transport bans in an area covering a staggering 41 million people, as the United States confirmed its second case of the SARS-like virus that has reached almost a dozen countries.

The virus has also spread to densely populated South Asia, where Nepal confirmed one case, and Europe, where two cases were reported in France.

With more than 800 cases logged in China so far, a range of Lunar New Year festivities were cancelled, with temporary closures of Beijing's Forbidden City, Shanghai's Disneyland, and a section of the Great Wall to prevent the disease from spreading further.

The previously unknown virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

The World Health Organization said China faced a national emergency but stopped short of declaring a global health emergency, which would have prompted greater global cooperation.

The outbreak emerged in late December in Wuhan, an industrial and transport hub of 11 million people in China's centre, spreading to several other countries.

In the United States, a woman in Chicago became the second known patient on US soil, with 50 other suspected cases under investigation. A city health official said on Friday the woman was doing well and in stable condition.

Hours after the announcement President Donald Trump thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping via Twitter "on behalf of the American People" for his country's "efforts and transparency" in working to contain the virus. "It will all work out well," Trump wrote.

The first case in South Asia was reported in Nepal on Friday. The 32-year-old male patient, who had arrived from Wuhan, was treated at a hospital in Kathmandu and discharged, officials said.

And two cases were confirmed in France, the first in Europe. Both had recently travelled to China and have been placed in isolation, the country's health minister said. With a report from Agence France-Presse