Manila Health Dep’t. says rumored novel coronavirus case just pneumonia

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila City government on Monday, January 27, denied rumors spreading online about a case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Philippine capital.

In a statement, the Manila Public Information Office (PIO) said there is no confirmed case of the 2019-nCoV involving a Chinese national who was admitted at the Metropolitan Hospital in Binondo.

Manila City Health Officer Dr. Arnold Pangan identified the Chinese national as a 27-year old male who was working at a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO).

Pangan said the Chinese man was hospitalized last January 25, 2020, due to fever and cough. The City Health Officer said the foreigner reportedly resides on the boundary of Pasay and Paranaque Cities.

“Case is a 27-year old male, arrived in the Philippines as POGO worker last January 8, 2020. He is from Obei, China,” Pangan said in his report to the Office of the Mayor.

“MHD Surveillance Team, in coordination with DOH surveillance, and as per investigation, patient has fever and cough but negative on the history of travel to Wuhan, China, and no history of exposure to a host or positive case,” he stressed.

Pangan said the Chinese national was diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia.

“As of the moment, the patient is well and does not have fever,” he said.

“The MHD is in a continuous effort of intensive information dissemination in our public schools and respective barangays regarding precautions on stopping transmission of coronavirus,” he added.

The Manila PIO said “the coronavirus scare on social media has apparently compelled the following schools in the nation’s capital to suspend classes” for Monday.

  • Philippine Academy of Sakya
  • Saint Stephen’s High School
  • Saint Jude Catholic School
  • Chiang Kai Shek College – Padre Algue and Narra branches
  • Uno High School

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso appealed to the public to avoid sharing unverified information on social media to prevent panic or anxiety among the public over the virus spreading internationally.

“Hindi ikinikibit-balikat ang sitwasyong ito. Be vigilant. Huwag kayong maiilang. Huwag muna masyadong mag-alala. Tayo po ay makinig sa mga lathalain, panawagan ng mga tamang tao at ahensya ng gobyerno,” he said.

Mayor Isko also encouraged all citizens to immediately proceed to the nearest clinic or health center if they feel they are suffering from symptoms of the virus, which include cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

“Ngayon naman, sa lahat ng ating mga barangay, nakikisuyo ang ating MHD na kayo’y makipagtulungan by just being vigilant. Kayo rin, tayong lahat, huwag kayong matatakot kapag kayo ay may ubo. Mas maganda magpagamot at magpa-check up,” he said.

The national Department of Health (DOH) has said there is still no confirmed case yet of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines although it is monitoring at least 11 individuals for a suspected respiratory infection. These patients under investigation have been recorded in different hospitals in Muntinlupa and Pasay Cities in Metro Manila, Kalibo in Aklan, El Nido in Palawan, Cebu City, and Camiguin, based on DOH’s data.

Based on the latest report of China’s National Health Commission, the death toll from the novel coronavirus strain has spiked to 80 on Monday with hundreds of new infections despite massive travel lockdown and quarantines in China.

The virus was first detected in the Chinese City of Wuhan and has since spread to neighboring towns and other countries. Confirmed 2019-nCoV cases have been reported as far as the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Nepal, as well as in Asian cities of Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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