MANILA - There is "no evidence" that the new coronavirus can spread through the air, the Department of Health said Tuesday, citing information from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the virus is transmitted via droplets when an infected person breathes out, coughs or sneezes.
"Ang sabi ng WHO, walang ebidensiya na nagpapakita na airborne ito. Tulad ng SARS, ang mode of transmission is respiratory droplet," he told radio DZMM.
(According to WHO, there's no evidence that shows the virus is airborne. Like SARS, its mode of transmission is respiratory droplet.)
Reports over the weekend cited a Chinese official who said the virus is capable of airborne or aerosol transmission.
"Mukhang may problema sa translation issue. Kasi iyong aerosol diba pag bumahing ka aerosolized 'yung plema mo. Dun nakapaloob ang virus. But dahil mabigat ito, puwede siyang umabot pagkabahing mo within a distance of 3-6 feet," Duque said.
(There may be some translation issues. Because when you sneeze, your phlegm, which contains the virus, becomes aerosolized. Because this is heavy, it can reach a distance of 3 to 6 feet.)
"Ang aerosol ibig sabihin nabiyahe ng hangin. Ang akala, parang may overlap ngayon between airborne and aerosol."
(Aerosol means it's transported through air. The public thinks there's an overlap between airborne and aerosol.)
The WHO, in its website, said it still needs to "see the data and understand how (aerosol) transmission has been assessed."
The DOH and the WHO recommend that people frequently wash hands, cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and avoid close contact with those who are sick.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the novel coronavirus is spread "mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread."
The flu-like illness has so far claimed some 1,000 lives in mainland China and infected 42,000 others since emerging from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December.
The Philippines is monitoring 314 persons suspected of carrying the virus, while it has reported 3 confirmed cases and 1 fatality.