Contact-tracing of Etihad passengers down to 43

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2014 04:01 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2014 12:01 AM

MANILA – Forty-three more passengers of an Etihad Airways flight have yet to be contacted and tested for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The 43 are among more than 400 passengers on board EY 0424, which carried a passenger who initially tested positive for the virus in the United Arab Emirates but later tested negative in the Philippines.

“The government is still working to complete the tracking and testing for MERS-Coronavirus of all passengers of Etihad Airways flight EY0424 that landed at the NAIA on 15 April. According to the DOH, as of this time, only 43 out of 414 have not been contacted.

"Three hundred twenty five (325) passengers or almost 80 percent have been contacted,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Coloma said many of those already tested showed negative results.

”Out of the 325 passengers, 252 have undergone nose and throat swabbing, with 221 passengers having tested negative. We are still awaiting the swab results of the 31 other passengers.”

He said the government is keeping its guard up.

”We call on our citizens to remain vigilant, and to heed preventive measures and quarantine procedures of our health authorities. Travelers returning from the Middle East are advised to fill out the quarantine forms providing detailed contact information to facilitate subsequent tracing if needed.”

Coloma reiterated the government’s call that those who become ill within two weeks upon arrival are strongly advised to seek immediate medical attention from all public hospitals and/or any DOH-accredited medical facilities and to delay visits to crowded places.