FIVE of the 445 overseas Filipinos who were repatriated from the M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan were brought to hospitals as they developed symptoms of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press conference Friday, February 28, that the five are now considered persons under investigation (PUIs).
They include a 39-year-old man who complained of cough, and a 24-year-old and 27-year-old male repatriates who have throat discomfort. They were brought to a hospital in Pampanga Thursday, February 27.
The two others were brought to hospital Friday morning, February 28, for sore throat.
"They are now categorized as PUIs and transferred to hospital for isolation and medical management," Duque said.
But he clarified that all of the five PUIs are afebrile, and two of them have tested negative for the Covid-19. The DOH is awaiting test results for the other PUIs.
"Their specimens were collected and sent for testing at the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine)...While we are still waiting for other test results, we assure the public that our referral hospitals are well equipped and prepared to handle positive Covid-19 cases," Duque assured.
The 445 repatriates arrived in the country from Japan on February 25. They landed at the Clark airport and were brought to the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Duque said personnel of the quarantine facility at the New Clark City have been extra cautious to prevent further health risks.
As of 12 p.m. Friday, February 28, Duque said there are only 30 PUIs who have been admitted in various health facilities in the country.
He said a total of 585 patients have already been discharged and as of Friday, February 28, 531 patients have tested negative for the new virus. Only 40 cases have pending test results.
"We are observing a steady decrease in the number of PUIs admitted in health our facilities and DOH is bent on sustaining this downward trend," the health chief said.
The DOH also called on the public to continue to be vigilant to keep the threat of Covid-19 at bay, noting the "looming prospect of positive Covid-19 cases among the repatriated Filipinos."
Duque reiterated that hospitals in the country are ready to handle positive Covid-19 cases. (LMY/SunStar Philippines)