A man and a child wear protective masks in Manila on Thursday. Associated Press
Manolo B. Jara, Correspondent
Infection by the novel coronavirus (nCOV) is not a “death sentence,” a ranking health official assured on Thursday to allay reported rising fears and alarm among Filipinos following confirmation that three Chinese nationals, including one death, have been afflicted by the dreaded ailment in the country.
Heath Undersecretary Eric Domingo aired the assurance, pointing out that at least 98 per cent of the reported nCOV cases have recovered from the disease that continued to spread in much of the world.
“It is not a death sentence even if you are diagnosed to have incurred the ailment because 98 percent probably will recover. Doctors know that 98 per cent will get better,” Domingo, also the Department of Health spokesman, stressed.
He likewise warned that private hospitals with infectious disease wards and isolation rooms would lose their licenses if proven that they refused to accept persons under investigation (PUIs) with nCOV.
So far, the health department reported that there are now 133 PUIs in the country. Of the total, 115 are currently admitted and isolated while 16 have been discharged under strict monitoring.
Also on Thursday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque sought a two-day delay in the arrival of the estimated 40 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deployed in Wuhan City, Hubei province in China, the epicenter of the ailment, who asked to be repatriated.
Earlier, the foreign office said the OFWs are to arrive at the Clark International Airport, a former giant US military airbase in Pampanga province in Central Luzon, on Saturday via a chartered plane.
From the airport, the OFWs are to be brought by special vehicles to a drug rehabilitation center inside Fort Magsaysay, the country’s biggest military installation in Nueva Ecija province in Central Luzon which is to serve as their quarantine site.
Duque said he discovered during his visit on Wednesday that the site still lacked adequate water supply as well as bedsheets, blankets and pillows for the OFWs who are to be isolated under strict quarantine rules for 14 days.
Most Filipinos reportedly expressed alarm folowing the announcement that a 60-year-old Chinese woman became the third confirmed nCOV patient in the country but who was allowed to return to China after initial tests proved she was negative of the ailment.
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