2019-nCoV positive patient only spent 3 hours at Mactan airport

Wenilyn Sabalo

THE Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas clarified that the 38-year-old woman, who was the first confirmed case of the 2019-novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease in the country, and her boyfriend, only stayed at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

Jaime Bernadas, DOH-Central Visayas director, in a press conference Friday, January 31, said the couple only stayed at the MCIA for three hours, then went directly to Dumaguete City last January 21.

The 38-year-old woman is now at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila together with her boyfriend. The two, Bernadas said, were asymptomatic.

He said the Provincial Health Office of Dumaguete, together with the surveillance team, has started locating the possible contacts of the couple.

A team from DOH-Central Visayas also went to Dumaguete Friday morning, while a team from DOH Manila is also expected to arrive in Dumaguete Friday afternoon to assist in the contact tracing.

Bernadas said they will be looking into places, persons, consequences, and situations and will correlate it with protocols and information about the virus as part of the procedures before coming up with a conclusion.

The period of the investigation, he said, would depend on the availability of the persons identified.

Asked about how many persons and what establishments are they going to investigate, Bernadas said he could not yet specify.

"Please bear with us. The hotel and resorts owners have requested to withhold the names of the resorts and hotels," he said.

He said if the persons who are traced are found to be asymptomatic, they will be advised to stay at home or in their hotel accommodations for 14 days where they will still be monitored by field health personnel.

If they have displayed some symptoms, they will be referred to a health care facility for some diagnostic tests.

If they are manifesting signs and symptoms of the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (the disease's official name), they would be referred to a hospital wherein they could be admitted and isolated, Bernadas said.

"All these are voluntary in nature it depends on the situation if ever we will apply the quarantine law," he said. (SunStar Cebu)