Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
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 implemented tight security are the preventive measures against the global pandemic Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), by the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi (AUHPE) and the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB).
“Both the AUHPE and the PCGDXB issued the advisory,” wrote Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes to the Philippine Press WhatsApp Group on Saturday, when majority of the media practitioner-members of the communication line with the senior diplomat, were updating one another on the COVID-19.
AUHPE attends to 500 clients a day. PCGDXB attends to approximately 700 clients a day.
The advice carries a reminder for all the over 600,000 Filipinos in the UAE “to take the necessary health precautions, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and to observe the advisory given by the UAE (Ministry of Health and Prevention) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in relation to COVID-19.”
The AUHPE hotline is +971508137836. The PCGDXB hotlines are +971565015755/56.
Meanwhile, official count of the COVID-2019 cases all over the world, as per the WHO as of March 7, Saturday, 10:17 GMT, was at 102,544 cases from 98 countries and the Diamond Princess, up 5,993 cases from the the 96,551 in 87 countries and the Diamond Princess on March 5. Of the 102,544, deaths were at 3,501 up 119 from the 3,310 deaths on March 5, recovered were 57,691 up 7,610 from the 53,981 recovered on March 5.
From the 102,544 cases, in the UAE were 38 active cases (currently infected patients who could be in either mild/serious/critical conditions), two in serious/critical condition and seven recovered/discharged.
Over-all and among the 98 countries as of March 7, 61,192 COVID-19 cases were considered closed, 57,691 recovered/discharged and 3,501 deaths.
The AUHPE and PCGDXB COVID-19 joint advisory was released four days after WHO-Eastern Mediterranean regional director Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari issued his March 3 statement on the disease situation in the 22 countries of the region which include the UAE, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.
“We have seen local transmission in our region, and it is likely that the outbreak may continue to progress from case importation to local transmission.
“We have the required expertise, capacities and tools to contain this outbreak. But the window of opportunity is closing, and we need to move fast.
“We continue to support all countries in enhancing surveillance for disease detection and reporting systems, including at points of entry; scaling-up laboratory capacities; training rapid response teams; improving infection prevention and control; ensuring hospitals are prepared; raising community awareness; and providing essential supplies.
Al Mandhari urged everyone to cooperate with all authorities, assist all the affected, and to “share detailed and timely information.”
In the AUHPE Facebook page, headlined as “Public Advisory No. 03-2020,” signed by Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana and addressed to the Filipino Community in the UAE, are the following instructions:
l All incoming clients will be made to undergo thermal screening. Those with body temperature higher than 37 degrees Centigrade will be requested to return to the (missions) at a later date. They will be advised to consult a physician.
l Clients who have been admitted but show other symptoms such as coughing or sneezing will be requested to wear a face mask while inside (the missions).
l All clients will be requested to apply hand sanitizers provided at the reception area before proceeding to the (missions’) transaction areas/counters. Hand sanitizers are also available for their use at the service windows/counters.
l Only applicants will be allowed entry to the (missions), except for minor children that need to be accompanied by parents. Accompanying family members, friends, employers, escort/s will be advised to wait outside the (missions).
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.
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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