Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Philippine Ambassador Hjayceelyn M. Quintana on Saturday reminded her over 600,000 countrymen to rely only on updates about Novel Coronavirus 2019 (nCoV2019) from UAE health authorities and to refrain from using any form of social media for unchecked claims and news.
Quintana also reminded her countrymen to observe proper health protocols to avoid getting the virus which has spread in at least 25 countries, has claimed thousands of lives, and remain to be a problem although the World Health Organization (WHO) has not categorized it as pandemic since the virus has not mutated.
Meanwhile, in a You Tube video forwarded to this reporter last week, Filipino physician Dr. Willie Ong with at least 2.3 million followers debunked “myths” about the dreaded nCoV2019.
Gulf Today has observed that many Filipinos in the UAE wear facemasks in the midst of the nCoV2019 scare. This reporter heard one Filipino at a popular Filipino supermarket saying all he needs is to down bottles of booze to kill the virus.
Following are the tips of the Pasay Filipino-Chinese Charity Health Centre medical director/Manila Doctors Hospital and Makati Medical Centre Cardiology consultant who said that being hygienic would make one safe from nCoV2019 and not the constant use of “ordinary facemasks” which becomes soiled, odorous, dirty and therefore un-hygienic.
* Clean hands with the topical antiseptic of rubbing alcohol (70 per cent alcohol) aside from thorough washing of the hands with soap and water as all germs, virus and bacteria are transmitted through the hands. Rubbing alcohol and/or alcogel have been proved to kill virus, germs and bacteria.
* Do not hold toilet doorknobs, faucets, and other toilet accessories with hands.
* On enquiries about the use of alcohol/alcogel on the face: “This could cause blindness as (the substance) may enter the eyes. Studies have shown that a person puts/rubs/wipes his hands on his face 23 times a day.”
* On enquiries about the other kind of alcohol: “Drinking booze will definitely lead to weakened health and more often, untimely death.”
* On enquiries about sunbathing or soaking under the sun to kill any possible acquired nCoV2019: “This will lead to heat stroke and untimely death.”
* Let fresh air inside rooms and homes.
* Soak items under the sun for one to two hours to kill germs/bacteria/the possible nCoV2019.
Quintana issued the reminder as well as the caution through a Philippine Embassy statement posted on the embassy website and over Facebook early Saturday morning, upon the press release of a UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) regarding the discovery of two new nCoV 2019 cases involving one Filipino and one Chinese.
The news stated the rise of the nCoV2019 cases to seven with the two new cases given the utmost care in undisclosed health facilities.
“The Embassy informs the public that it will fully coordinate with UAE health authorities on the case of one Filipino who was reported to have been afflicted by Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). As per report that came out from the Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP), the concerned Filipino is under observation and is being given the necessary medical care in accordance with the highest standards in the UAE.
“With this in mind, the Embassy reminds all Filipinos in the UAE to always follow the hygiene protocols of the (MoHaP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Also, the public is advised to only get their information from UAE health authorities and not to post or share in social media and digital messaging any unverified information.” The embassy advisory came three days after the faux pas of Philippine Labour and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III who announced in Manila on Thursday, about the death of a Filipino housemaid, 58, from Ilocos Sur Province, in Dubai, due to nCoV2019.
Dubai Government issued a statement on Thursday refuting Bello’s pronouncements. Bello apologized to the government on Friday.
Gulf Today carried the news on Saturday: “A belated report received from the Philippine Labour Office in Dubai of results of confirmatory tests conducted by the Pathology and Genetic Department of the Dubai Health Authority on the (housemaid’s) specimen yielded negative of the coronavirus.”
From March 8, Sunday, only applicants and those with official business at the two Philippine missions in the UAE will be allowed to enter their premises in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Saturday that, its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
MoHAP also announced the death of three patients as a result of COVID-19 complications. The total number of deaths in the country has reached 375, it added.
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