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No risk from nurse’s remains–Ona

Health Secretary Enrique Ona: No risk

MANILA, Philippines—The repatriation of the remains of a Filipino nurse who died from a deadly SARS-like virus in Saudi Arabia would not pose a health threat to the public, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said on Thursday.

Ona said it was safe to bring back the body of the 41-year-old woman who died on Aug. 29 from the MERS-CoV virus in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“Her remains will not pose a public health risk because the coronavirus also dies with its host,” Ona said, adding that the remains would be sealed.

Ona also downplayed suggestions that the Filipino may have infected other nurses and medical practitioners that she was working with in Riyadh.

“That is highly unlikely because they have been monitoring these cases very well and there is still no confirmed infection from one human to another,” Ona said.

He urged overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East to immediately consult a doctor if they contracted a fever recently, and especially if they were returning to the Philippines.

“Those who have experienced fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, or any other symptoms should have themselves checked by a doctor immediately,” Ona said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier confirmed that another Filipino tested positive for the MERS-CoV virus in the same hospital where the nurse had been confined.—Philip C. Tubeza


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