2 Pinoys from Wuhan test negative for new coronavirus: DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2020 01:18 PM | Updated as of Feb 12 2020 03:50 PM

Thirty Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan City arrive with their families at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase on February 9, 2010. DFA Handout

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said the two Filipino repatriates from China showing symptoms of diarrhea do not have COVID-19.

“Yesterday, two repatriates (1-year-old male and 34-year-old female) were brought to Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital due to diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. Both tested negative for the 2019-nCoV,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo told reporters during a press conference.

“Walang cough and fever itong two repatriates natin (our two repatriates do not have cough and fever) but they had diarrhea,” he said, explaining that diarrhea is among the more unusual symptoms of the COVID-19, which has left more than 1,100 people dead.

Even if they tested negative, they will still return to the New Clark City "to complete the 14 days” of mandatory quarantine, Domingo said of the two repatriates from Wuhan, where the new strain of the coronavirus was first detected and has since spread outside of China.

Other symptoms linked to COVID-19 include fever, sore throat, cough and colds. The two repatriates, who are relatives, were among the 30 Filipinos living in Wuhan during the outbreak.

They were repatriated on Sunday by the Philippine government as countries started locking down its borders with China, where most of the COVID-19 cases and deaths have been confirmed. 

The Philippines has had 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19, all Chinese citizens who traveled from Wuhan city, the epicenter of the disease. As of Wednesday, more than 40,000 people have been infected of the disease and some 1,000 have died. 

The 30 Filipinos are currently quarantined at the Athlete’s Village inside the New Clark City in Tarlac. They are joined by government personnel who assisted them during the repatriation. 

Domingo said that while the woman and the child already tested negative for COVID-19, they will still have to stay in the facility for a total of 14 days, the incubation period of the disease.

“We are checking on our repatriates twice a day to ensure that they are properly being cared for, and we will be providing SIM and cell cards for those who don’t have mobile access within the facility,” he said.

Domingo said health workers check on the vital signs and the condition of the people staying at New Clark City. He said activities are also being organized for the individuals who have to stay in their rooms as a precaution.

The Health undersecretary said psychosocial processing was also being done for the well-being of the quarantined Filipinos.

There are no reports yet if another batch of Filipinos will be repatriated from China.