ON THE heels of the anxiety expressed by a group of private hospitals, the Department of Health (DOH) advised them on Thursday to bring suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) patients to government-run hospitals instead.

Private hospitals have the option to properly refer suspected MERS-CoV patients if they believe they cannot handle the cases, according to DOH spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy.

“Kung may doubt, may fear sa pag-aadmit, dalhin na nila sa Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Lung Center, o San Lazaro Hospital. Naiintindihan namin ang pag-aalinlangan nila. Dalhin na nila at kami na bahala sa kaso,” said Lee Suy in response to the statement of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPi).

He assured that the government is capable of handling MERS-CoV cases for several months already.

“We can commit our hospitals, our government hospitals na handa naman at may mga protocol naman at guidelines kung ano ang puwede nilang gawin sakaling magkaroon sila ng suspected cases ng MERS-CoV,” said Lee Suy.

He also said the government has not stopped from keeping track of the possible entry of the MERS-CoV.

“Akala ng mga tao, porke nahinto na ang MERS dito, we stopped as well ang monitoring. Iyong mga dumarating from the Middle East, mino-monitor pa rin natin,” said Lee Suy.

He said the DOH is so prepared that some even criticize the government for implementing the mandatory completion of the Health Declaration Checklist by arriving passengers.

“Masyado raw tayong mahigpit, like iyong mga pinapafill-up na form. Ngayon, naja-justify lahat iyon,” said Lee Suy.

The World Health Organization considers MERS-CoV-related screening at points of entry unnecessary at this time. (HDT/Sunnex)