MANILA - The Department of Health on Monday said police officers should be the first to respond in cases where a suspected novel coronavirus patient faints on the street or is in need of help.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said this after a video showing an Asian man lying on a sidewalk became viral online.
The person who took the video said he called authorities but the response was slow. The Manila Public Information Office later clarified that the man was Korean and not Chinese and that he fell asleep on the street because he was drunk.
“Your first responder in such cases is the police. Because policemen are usually roving,” Duque told reporters when asked what should be done in case it was a real emergency.
“The police will call the emergency room of the closest government hospital (and ask for an ambulance).”
Duque in case the patient is unconscious, the attending health worker will have to wait for him or her to be conscious again before asking questions as part of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) screening procedure.
“You’ll have to check first if there are symptoms. But you have to be guarded,” he said.
After the press conference, Duque also told reporters that the correct way to wear a face mask is with the blue side out.
“The face mask is only for people who have cough, colds, fever. They should wear a mask so they don’t infect others,” he also pointed out.
Duque said this is needed even for other illnesses such as influenza.
The Health Secretary said the metal strip on the mask should be shaped to rest on the person’s nose so the mask won’t move.
“The fold must be facing down. And then you pull it down to cover (the chin),” he said.
The white side, which should be on the inside, is the absorbent layer, he said.
One of the two confirmed cases in the Philippines, a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan, died on Saturday--becoming the first reported fatality outside China, where the virus originated. The first confirmed case in the Philippines was reported on January 30, a 38-year-old Chinese woman who was the partner of the first 2019-nCoV fatality in PH.
The number of persons being monitored in the Philippines for possible infection of the new coronavirus has more than doubled to 80, DOH said.
Of this figure, 30 persons have tested negative for the new strain of virus, 2 were confirmed positive, while results for 48 persons remain pending, said Duque III.
Because the illness has spread outside China, the World Health Organization has earlier declared it a global health emergency.
There are now over 14,000 people infected with the virus with over 300 dead.