The number of patients suspected to have been infected with the potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus (also known as 2019-nCoV) has increased to 31 today, the Department of Health (DOH) announced.
The new group of patients includes a couple living in Quezon City who had traveled to China. They experienced back pain, and were brought to San Lazaro hospital where they are under quarantine, GMA News reports.
Initially, DOH epidemiology bureau head Dr. Ferchito Avelino said in an interview on the CNN Philippines show The Source that there were 56 patients being monitored for 2019-nCOV, but his colleague Eric Domingo said in a presser later that there were only 31, GMA News reports. Yesterday, the number of patients being investigated was just 29, with most of them staying in hospitals in Metro Manila.
Domingo added that they have also verified that one person has tested positive of 2019-nCoV, making him the second case in the country.
The country confirmed its first case of 2019-nCoV yesterday, a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak. She arrived in Manila from Hong Kong on Jan. 21, and is currently staying at a government hospital, where she went for a checkup after coming down with a cough.
Prior to being admitted to the hospital, the patient traveled to Cebu and Dumaguete, and health officials are now trying to track down the passengers from her flight with whom she may have come into contact.
Meanwhile, spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier confirmed today that President Rodrigo Duterte has banned travelers coming from Hubei province, where the novel coronavirus originated. Panelo said this was based on the recommendation of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, contrary to Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s announcement this morning that the suggestion came from him.
“Upon the recommendation of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, the president has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei province of China where the nCoV originated, as well in other places in China where there is a spread of the disease, as officially confirmed by the Chinese government,” Panelo said. “It will last until the threat is over given that the safety of our countrymen is foremost in the president’s mind.”
“We ask our countrymen to follow the advice of the DOH to observe personal hygiene as a preventive measure like regularly washing one’s hands and wearing surgical masks in going around crowded areas,” he added.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article said that there were 56 patients being monitored. It has been corrected to reflect the new number given by the DOH.
This article, UPDATE: Health department clarifies 31 and not 56 patients being monitored for possible Wuhan coronavirus infection, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!