VIRUS ALERT

BOQ agents step up monitoring over mysterious coronavirus

The Bureau of Quarantine-Davao has stepped up its monitoring in airport and seaports following reports of a new type of coronavirus from China.

Dr. Wilson Lim, quarantine medical officer IV of the Bureau of Quarantine-Davao told media that they are intensifying their monitoring in the city’s airport and seaports to ensure health security of the passengers particularly those coming from China.

“From the airport pa lang, we screen them bago sila bumaba. We interrogate them about their flight details. Normal lang po na dadaan sila sa thermal scanner,” Lim said.

According to Lim, if a passenger has suspicious fever, they will bring him/her to the holding area of the quarantine, do double checking, interrogates the medical history and endorse him/her to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) if positive with coronavirus.

“Ang coronavirus from China hindi pa na-identify pero related ito sa SARS. Continue pa rin ang aming monitoring, screening and surveillance sa passengers. Kung meron suspected case of flu-like symptoms ang passenger, we endorse them to RESU and SPMC,” he said.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the preliminary discovery of a new coronavirus. 

It was reported last month that a mysterious virus which was a new type of pneumonia had infected 59 people as of the end of the year. Chinese officials were initially concerned that the virus was a resurgence of SARS, which killed hundreds of people in 2002 and 2003.

Quarantine-Davao is also monitoring and conducting surveillance of the entry of vessels at the seaports. The agency is enforcing measures to prevent the entry of the said disease and other health concerns from other countries that may impact on public’s health.

“Kami ang first na nagbo- boarding sa Davao Gulf, hanggat hindi pa na- cleared ng quarantine hindi pa puwede sumakay o bumaba ang mga pasahero. Hindi rin naming pinapalapit ang mga vessels sa pier hanggat hindi pa na cleared. So far sa airport and seaports wala pang nakapasok na pasahero na may sakit,” Lim said.  

Lim said they are not only closely monitoring passengers from China but also those from Singapore and Hong Kong.

“We check lahat po international flights,” he said.

It is also the function of the Bureau of Quarantine-Davao to provide technical assistance and supervision, consultative and advisory services on health and sanitation programs and activities in international ports and airports and their immediate environs.

The seaports and airports are being closely monitored by the Department of Health (DOH) to make sure that the virus cannot enter the region. There is no travel ban in the country also in connection with the reported mysterious disease in China.

Health Assistant Secretary Abdullah Dumama has reported last week assuring there was no reported case of the so-called “mysterious respiratory virus” coming from China in Davao Region.