No travel restrictions to Middle East amid MERS-CoV scare
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has explained that Filipinos will not be restricted from traveling to countries in the Middle East amid incidents of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
“There are no travel restrictions to and from the Middle East countries as there is no epidemic or outbreak,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
Coloma said Health Secretary Enrique Oña already issued an advisory for Filipinos in Middle East countries upon the instructions of President Benigno Aquino III.
The Department of Health (DOH) said Filipinos should avoid contact with persons showing influenza-like illness.
“Those returning from the Middle East who become ill within two weeks upon arrival are advised to delay visits to crowded places and to seek immediate medical attention. Hospitals have been instructed to report to the DOH any patient who may be suspected to have contracted the MERS coronavirus infection,” Coloma said, reading from the advisory.
The Secretary said such cases will be reported to the National Epidemiology Center and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, which will confirm if the patient is suffering from MERS-CoV.
Coloma assured that the Bureau of Quarantine has been screening travelers entering the country while the Department of Foreign Affairs has already dispatched an assistance-to-nationals team last April 12 to verify the condition of Filipinos affected by the virus
On April 10, a Filipino paramedic died because of the MERS-CoV while five other health workers have been placed under quarantine in a hospital in Al Ain, which is an hour-and-a-half ride away from Abu Dhabi.
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