5 Negrense OFWs quarantined

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


FIVE Negrenses, who were among those who boarded the Etihad Airlines flight EY 0424 from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week, are being quarantined in government hospitals in the cities of Bacolod and Cadiz.

The five overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were together in the same flight with a male Filipino nurse who was initially tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (Mers-CoV).

Provincial Health Officer Ernell Tumimbang said on Monday two of the five OFWs were already tested negative of Mers-CoV while the third had a non- conclusive result and was subjected to a retest.

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Three of the five OFWs are from Bacolod City, including a male engineer, a female manager, and a seafarer. The fourth is a technician from Talisay City and the other is a domestic helper from Toboso town.

The first four are being quarantined at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH). The woman from Toboso is with the Cadiz City District Hospital.

Tumimbang said the specimen (throat swabs) taken from the five OFWs were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Metro Manila.

Those taken from the OFWs from Talisay and Toboso were submitted Saturday and Sunday, he said.

This a priority infectious disease so the RITM releases resulted in 24 to 48 hours, Tumimbang said.

Once they are cleared by the Department of Health, they will be released from quarantine, he said.

The Provincial Health Office, however, did not reveal the identities of the five because of the "stigma it may cause them," Tumimbang said.

He said the five OFWs were very cooperative because they are aware of the hazards of the virus.

They were identified and located through the passengers’ manifest, Tumimbang said.

The Philippine government has advised Filipinos who returned from travel to the Middle East or have been in contact with others who have to immediately see their healthcare provider if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms or any respiratory illness.

The government, however, clarified that there are no travel restrictions on Filipinos going to the Middle East since there is no epidemic or outbreak of the Mers-CoV.

Tumimbang advised Negrenses to always wash their hands as the virus is transmitted through fluids.

"What we are doing is contact tracing so if they will be tested positive we will know who they are and where they live," he said.

Tumimbang said that personnel at the CLMMRH who are attending to those under quarantine are using protective gear like masks, goggles and gloves.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 22, 2014.

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