Taiwanese girl who mingled with Wuhan tourist also under observation
MANILA - A Brazilian family of 3 were placed at the isolation room of a hospital in Puerto Princesa, Palawan Friday after showing flu-like symptoms following a recent trip to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of a fast-spreading disease that has killed dozens and infected more than a thousand people.
The family, a couple and their 10-year-old boy, came in for a checkup at the rural health unit of tourist haven El Nido on Friday, said Dr. Audie Cipriano, medical professional staff chief at the Ospital ng Palawan.
Upon initial check, the child had a fever while the father had a sore throat. They were transported to the Ospital ng Palawan in capital Puerto Princesa at 1 a.m. Saturday and immediately placed at the isolation room for examination.
While the parents had no fever, their child had to be confined after showing respiratory symptoms including difficulty breathing and fever.
The family had to be isolated given their history of travel in Wuhan, a Chinese transport hub of 11 million people now on lockdown in a bid to arrest the spread of the disease.
"''Yong Brazilian, number one they came from Wuhan. Then symptoms 'yong bata (the child) had presenting symptoms ng respiratory symptoms, difficulty of breathing and galing sa Wuhan (they came from Wuhan)," he said.
"So, patient was advised to be admitted while 'yong parents wala namang lagnat, ang complaint lang no'ng father ay sore throat (they had no fever and the dad only complained of sore throat)... So we had to admit the patient, siyempre 'yong magulang 'di naman iiwanan 'yan dahil anak nila (of course the parents won't leave their child behind)," Cipriano said.
The child will undergo a swab test, with the sample to be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City. The family will remain at the Palawan hospital until results are out, he said.
Meanwhile, a 6-year-old girl from Taiwan initially brought to a private hospital was referred to the Ospital ng Palawan for experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, including difficulty breathing.
Cipriano said the patient was recently in the company of a Chinese national from Wuhan, but added this was not confirmed.
"Ngayon pinapa-check namin sa pedia kung it may be bacterial kasi halos parehas lang din naman ang symptoms niyan or any other flu-like illnesses," he said.
(Now we are asking the pediatrician to check if it could be bacterial because the symptoms are the same with any other flu-like illness.)
On Friday, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said there had been no confirmed case of the new coronavirus in the Philippines as patients who had presented symptoms were cleared of the disease.
A boy from Wuhan in Cebu was declared clear of the virus on Friday, the Department of Health said.
Health officials earlier cleared from the illness 3 Chinese tourists with influenza-like symptoms who arrived at the Kalibo International Airport.
A flight attendant at the airport also placed herself in "self-quarantine" after exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus.
A child from Nanjing, China who also arrived in Aklan with fever, meanwhile, is under observation, according to the province's health officer.
The Bureau of Immigration also tracked down 4 Chinese tourists who arrived in Manila earlier this week following exposure to a man who tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Ports around the Philippines remain on alert for the virus, with heightened surveillance in effect to screen passengers who may present symptoms or have had fever and cough in the past 30 days.
Aviation authorities earlier suspended direct flights from Wuhan into Kalibo, the gateway to beach destination Boracay. Batches of tourists who had come from the Chinese city for a holiday in Aklan were flying back home, authorities said.
A total of 179 Wuhan tourists were set to fly out of Aklan Saturday night, said Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Kalibo Manager Eusebio Monserate.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, similar to the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that spread in 2002 and 2003, has killed 41 and infected 1,300 as of Saturday.
Confirmed cases have been reported in Chinese cities and the United States, France, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Nepal.
- Reports from Arlie Cabrestante and Nony Basco, ABS-CBN News