Press Release
January 22, 2020

In dealing with mysterious disease from China

Senator Nancy Binay called on the Department of Health (DOH) and other government agencies to prepare an emergency response plan and ensure that the government is fully equipped to address a possible outbreak of a mysterious respiratory disease from China.

Binay filed Senate Resolution 293 which aims to determine appropriate measures and necessary funding requirements to ensure quick and efficient government response to address a possible outbreak.

"It might be best for the DOH to review the protocols in place and check if the necessary people are prepared to implement these if needed," Binay said.

"Preemptive measures will always the better option. Kailangan natin paghandaan na dahil actionable ang impormasyong hawak ng DOH. We must act immediately to monitor reports of the disease or sightings, and abate the possibility of an outbreak," the senator added.

The DOH had earlier ordered the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to intensify checks on all travellers coming to the Philippines after reports of an "unknown form of viral pneumonia" is spreading in China.

"Mabuting maging handa, hindi lamang ang DOH at ang pambansang pamahalaan, kundi pati na rin ang mga local na pamahalaan hanggang sa lebel ng barangay," she added.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the DOH is currently investigating a suspected case of the mysterious respiratory disease that involves a 5-year-old Chinese boy who arrived in Cebu City from Wuhan, China.

The DOH referred to the case as "non-specific pancoronavirus," which means it could be the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or any of the 4 other existing coronaviruses that can infect humans.

The SARS-like viral disease was initially reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan and Chinese health officials said it could be transmitted between humans.

Cases have since been reported in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai and the province of Guangdong. South Korea, Japan, and Thailand have also reported cases of the disease, which was found in people who visited Wuhan. So far, a total of 218 people have been diagnosed with the virus.

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