2 Filipino repatriates from China experience ear pain, anxiety symptoms but negative for COVID-19

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2020 04:05 PM

30 Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan City arrive with their families at the Haribon Hangar in Clark Airbase on Feb. 9, 2020. DFA Handout

MANILA - Two Filipinos who were repatriated from China were admitted to hospitals this week for health problems not associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire, health assistant secretary for public health services, said a 29-year-old repatriate was admitted to Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital because of “fever and ear pain.”

“The patient was tested negative for the 2019-nCoV [2019 Novel Coronavirus] and was managed as a case of outer ear infection. Patient has been brought back to the New Clark City to complete the 14-day quarantine procedure,” Vergeire said during a press conference.

Another repatriate, a 25-year-old woman, will also be brought to the Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center “for further evaluation and management after exhibiting anxiety-related symptoms.”

Asked if the patient’s anxiety-related symptoms could be because of her isolation or repatriation, Vergeire said, “We can’t say for now.”

Experts at the hospital will be able to determine the patient's condition. 

“Ang pinakita niyang sintomas, hindi makatulog at balisa po siya," she said.

(The symptoms she's showing is inability to sleep and feeling restless.)

Vergeire assured the public the symptoms of the repatriates will be managed. She also said both are not related to COVID-19, which has infected over 60,000 people and has killed more than 1,300 in China as of Friday.

The 30 Filipino repatriates and government personnel who assisted them were kept in isolation rooms at the New Clark City upon their arrival last Sunday. They were repatriated amid travel restrictions on China and its territories.

On Tuesday, a 34-year-old female repatriate and an infant were admitted to the regional hospital because of diarrhea. Both tested negative for COVID-19 as well.

They also returned to New Clark City to finish the 14-day quarantine.

While local government officials have expressed concerns that the repatriates might be infected with the dreaded disease, none have tested positive for COVID-19. 

There are no announcements yet if another batch of overseas Filipino workers will be repatriated from Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease, or other areas in China.