Espinoza: No more beso-beso

Free Zone

THE Novel Corona Virus (2019-nCoV) that hit Wuhan, China alarmed government’s health officials. It has transformed Wuhan City into a ghost town. The virus has already spread to other countries, but what is good, however, is that this virus did not cause much panic to us, Filipinos, who are willful or just plain stubborn.

What are not pleasing, though, are the local news stories whose facts somehow do not conform to the actual numbers. One story says two persons were suspected with the 2019-nCoV, while the other story states three. Be that as it may, we should not be complacent because Chinese tourists abound from mainland China.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said an 18-year-old girl is still in isolation at the VSMMC while a 61-year-old woman is at the Allied Care Experts (ACE) Medical Center, both in Cebu City. He said that aside from these two cases, there are three patients under investigation (PUIs) in Kalibo, Aklan; one in Tacloban City, Leyte; two in Metro Manila, one in Palawan; and one in Camiguin.

Duque said the PUIs are Chinese, Brazilian, American and German nationals with a history of travel to Wuhan City in China.

Despite the seriousness of the matter, Duque, though, appeared misinformed because his own DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas, in an interview by SunStar Cebu, denied any information about the 61-year-old woman. Bernadas even said that the 18-year-old girl confined at VSMMC is not under investigation because she is only classified under suspected case.

According to Bernadas, the persons classified under suspected case are those that have traveled to Wuhan in the past two weeks and have manifested signs of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough and colds, while PUIs are those with a high suspicion level for the 2019-nCoV that would need confirmation from a laboratory in Australia.

Worse, Dr. Luisito Co, medical director ACE Medical Center belied Duque’s statement that an elderly woman is admitted in their hospital. In his text message, Dr. Co said: “Please be informed that ACE Medical Center Cebu is not yet operational. We are in the process of getting our full occupancy permit from the (Cebu) City Hall. We have not admitted patients yet.”

Be that as it may, our health officials deserve praises for their efforts to contain the virus and in warning us of the real danger of 2019-nCoV, which could kill us if not prevented or avoided. Duque advised us that aside from always washing our hands with soap, we now have to avoid handshakes and beso-beso.

Reports say four Chinese nationals were tagged as suspected cases in Central Visayas. Three of these patients, including the 18-year-old girl, are in Cebu City, while the other patient is in Bohol. To protect their right to privacy, Bernadas refused to give more details to the press.

Our local officials are also doing their best to prevent the spread of this virus here in Cebu. Measures are now in place at the airport. We can help the DOH by simply complying with its advisory to refrain from sharing unverified information about the 2019 nCoV. As it is now, there are so many unbelievable posts on social media that appear very scary.


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