MERS-CoV and that ATM scam

-A A +A

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


FOUR hundred fifteen passengers of flight No. EY 0424 of the Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to Manila last April 15 may have been infected with the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome-corona virus (MERS-CoV) after one of them, a male Filipino nurse, tested positive of the disease.

Of these passengers, 174 had yet to be quarantined. And, according reports, 14 of them were bound for Central Visayas. So the 14 passengers, who did not submit to a simple and free nose and throat swab examination by the Department of Health, are roaming around the region. Kuyaw kun nakatakod na ni sila.

The national government has thus raised a health alert and asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to locate them and have them quarantined. This is to ensure that they were not infected with the deadly virus, which is transmitted through close contact.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona also appealed to the passengers to have themselves quarantined at the nearest government hospital in their area. These people may have been exposed to the disease but do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show the symptoms.

Quarantine can help limit the spread of communicable diseases. The concerned passengers need to undergo the process to rule out the possibility of infection and to ensure that they will get prompt medical attention if needed.

No less than President Noynoy Aquino has ordered a “manhunt” for these people. The names of the 174 “missing passengers” were published in national newspapers yesterday.

On the question on whether forcing these people to undergo quarantine would violate their rights or not, I think it won’t. While we have the right to abode or travel, government can restrict our movement if doing so involves national security and health
concerns.

Government has the power to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens. In order to control the spread of a disease, in this case the Mers-CoV, our government can use its police power to restrict the movement of those who may have been infected with the virus.

So, those who were onboard that flight, please “surrender” to the authorities and undergo the required medical procedure or face the consequences of your refusal to do so.

***

Is the syndicate specializing in unauthorized withdrawal from ATM machines back in operation? I ask this because I received information from reliable sources that the ATM machine of one of the country's biggest banks installed in a private hospital here was victimized by the syndicate.

Employees of the hospital, doctors and guardians of the patients were mostly the recent victims of this modus.

The syndicate uses a skimming device, a tiny chip secretly attached to the ATM machine, that can capture details of the pin numbers of those who withdraw from the machine. Once the pin numbers are copied, the syndicate uses ATM cards to withdraw
some amount.

The syndicate usually operates during midnight and transacts in various ATM machines to avoid detection. There are ATM machines with built-in cameras that can easily detect them if they transact in only one machine.

I know that this is a very sensitive matter as far as the bank is concerned. The bank did not even issue an official statement regarding this matter so as not to alarm its depositors. But this is of public concern so I think the bank should be open about it.

I remember that this syndicate was busted by authorities in Iloilo City a few years ago but now they are back. To ensure that our hard-earned money won’t go to this syndicate, we should be careful in transacting with ATM machines.

Kining mga Pilipino maayo gyud mo-imbento pero gigamit sa kabuang.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 23, 2014.

Opinion

DISCLAIMER: Sun.Star website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessary reflect the views of the Sun.Star management and its affiliates. Sun.Star reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules: Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent and respectful. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!

Today's front page

Sun.Star Cebu front page for September 02, 2014

Other front pages

Sun.Star Jobs