Update: 3 Boracay-bound Chinese undergo tests to prevent spread of deadly coronavirus

<i>Photo: Nony Basco/ABS-CBN News</i>
Photo: Nony Basco/ABS-CBN News

Three Boracay-bound Chinese nationals were ordered by health authorities to undergo tests yesterday after exhibiting flu-like symptoms, sparking fears that they may be carrying a new, little understood pneumonia-causing coronavirus originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Blood and saliva were taken from the three tourists, who arrived separately at the international airport in Kalibo, Aklan. All three had a mild fever, colds, and cough, provincial health officer Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr. told The Philippine Daily Inquirer. After taking samples, the three were allowed to proceed to Boracay, contrary to reports that said they were quarantined.

All samples were sent to the Department of Health’s (DOH)) office in Iloilo and to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila. The authorities have yet to receive the results.

Read: Health Department wants travelers screened for mysterious pneumonia strain from China

Prior to the arrival of the three, a 29-year-old female tourist was referred to Aklan’s provincial hospital on Jan. 17, where she was similarly made to undergo tests. This was followed by a 3-year-old girl who arrived on Saturday, and a 65-year-old man who also arrived yesterday, Manila Bulletin reports. The results of their tests are still unknown.

Meanwhile, the DOH said today they will investigate the case of a 5-year-old Chinese boy from Wuhan who tested positive of a suspected coronavirus, Rappler reports. The child arrived in Cebu City recently for the Sinulog Festival.

[T]he samples tested positive for the non-specific pancoronavirus assay, thus the specimen has been sent to Australia to identify the specific coronavirus strain,” he said. The results will be available in 24 hours. He added that the patient is stable but coughing.

The Health Department had earlier ordered the Bureau of Quarantine to screen foreigners arriving in the country amid reports of a new coronavirus called 2019-nCoV that originated in Wuhan, China. There are now at least 200 people believed to have caught the disease, with suspected cases reported in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, as well as in Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, the BBC reports. As of yesterday, three people have died from the virus.

The World Health Organization has said that the virus likely came from an animal, and that it spread through close contact with humans.

The global body is set to determine this week whether to label the outbreak a global emergency after Chinese health officials confirmed yesterday that the virus is capable of being spread from human to human, according to AFP.


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One thought on “Update: 3 Boracay-bound Chinese undergo tests to prevent spread of deadly coronavirus

  1. One of the nurses that was in my graduating class now works with the W.H.O. She contacted me because she knew I was travelling in S.E. Asia. She told me that this virus was the result of the Chinese government attempting to weaponize a viral strain and it was not properly controlled in the lab.

    The Philippines is a high risk area because they have flights landing in Kalibo that fly nonstop from Wuhan. Some entering the country have already tested positive for the virus

    China is so concerned they locked down all flights, trains, buses, etc from leaving Wuhan.

    I contacted the safety director at Manila NAIA airport and inquired about the measures he was implementing to prevent the spread of the virus. He never responded.
    That was over one month ago. It wasn’t until Thailand, Taiwan and the U.S. began implementation of thermal screening of passengers arriving from China that the airports in the Philippines finally got their heads out of the sand and followed the same protocol.

    Know this… when the zombie apocalypse begins it will start in China.

    I would ban any and all flights that originated from China.

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