Quarantine official: Don’t panic amid pneumonia outbreak in China

A QUARANTINE official in Cebu said there is no need to panic amid reports of a pneumonia outbreak in mainland China, with foreign media reporting that dozens of Chinese fell ill with the disease.

Terence Anthony Bermejo, chief of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) Cebu, said on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, that there is no need for the general public to wear masks.

However, he said persons who are immunocompromised, or those who are living with diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus, undergoing chemotherapy and malnourished are advised to wear masks.

The BOQ Cebu personnel are closely monitoring the passengers of flights from China at Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Lapu-Lapu City. The MCIA has a passive thermal imaging machine, which reads the body temperature of passengers.

High temperature

Bermejo said they also have a set of protocols to follow when they detect a passenger with high body temperature.

Asked whether turning off air conditioning units in the facilities owned by the Cebu Provincial Government could combat the mysterious respiratory illness by preventing its spread, Department of Health (DOH) 7 Director Jaime Bernadas sees no need to do so.

Cases of pneumonia of unknown cause were first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever, with a few patients having difficulty in breathing. As of yet, there are no similar cases detected in the Philippines.

Isolated treatment

In South Korea, the Associated Press reported that a 36-year-old Chinese woman was placed in isolated treatment. The woman was diagnosed with pneumonia on Tuesday, Jan. 7, following two business trips to China last month.

Bernadas said none of the 11 Chinese with severe viral pneumonia cases died. The patients are now undergoing treatment.

Chinese health authorities also investigated more than 40 cases in China, and they found out that the patients were not afflicted with previous types of influenza such as A(H1N1), adenovirus and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

He said China’s health ministry is also doing its best to contain the virus in Wuhan by conducting its own quarantine measures.

The health ministry conducted tests on 121 persons who may have contracted the respiratory illness from the hospitalized patients.

Bernadas advised the public to fortify their immune system by avoiding stress, getting enough sleep, taking vitamins and observing proper hygiene. (WBS)