Press Release
January 6, 2020


While advising the public that there is no need for undue panic or anxiety amid the reported mystery disease from China as there has been no reported human-to-human transmission, Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, nevertheless called on the government to monitor the situation in Wuhan, China and take necessary preparations in the event the disease spreads.

"The cause of the "mystery" disease from Wuhan, China has not been determined and thus far, there has been no reported human-to-human transmission. Until the cause is known, there is no need for undue panic or anxiety. Meanwhile, the situation needs to be monitored and preparations should be in place in the event that the disease spreads," he said.

Gordon also commended the Department of Health for ordering the Bureau of Quarantine to be on alert and ordering tightened screening of all incoming travellers, given the significant number of workers from China.

"However, given the significant number of workers from China, including those involved in POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) - it is prudent for the Philippines to ask these travelers to declare if they have travelled to Wuhan and if so, be requested to be subjected to screening and a temperature check with minimum inconvenience as they enter the country," he added.

The DOH earlier ordered strict monitoring of all incoming travelers amid reports of a mysterious disease from China that has sparked fears of a return of the dreaded severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III assured the public that the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) is on alert and is closely watching all seaports and airports in response to reports of the mysterious disease. Duque instructed the BOQ to intensify the checking of all incoming travelers especially those manifesting fever or signs of respiratory infection.

It has been reported lately that an outbreak of a mysterious illness has affected 44 individuals in China. According to reports, the disease is similar to a "viral pneumonia of unknown origin." Many of the infected individuals were stall holders at Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which health authorities have closed until further notice, according to the South China Morning Post.

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