Leyte Woman Under Close Watch For nCoV

A 30-year-old woman from Leyte with recent travel history to China is now being closely monitored at a regional hospital here after manifesting symptoms similar to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Department of Health (DOH) regional office here reported on Monday.

DOH Eastern Visayas Regional Director Minerva Molon said the person under investigation (PUI), a native of Leyte province, sought consultation on Saturday, just a few days after her arrival from a tour in Hong Kong and Macao in China on Jan. 21.

“We already sent samples to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City for testing. We expect to get the result Tuesday or Wednesday. If she’s negative of the virus, she will be released immediately,” Molon told reporters.

The DOH sent the first sample to RITM on Saturday and the second sample on Monday morning. The patient is now in a stable condition.

If the samples from the patient will test positive for 2019-nCoV, it will be sent to the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia for a confirmatory test, according to DOH.

The health department reported about the new PUI just two days after a 36-year-old American was released from the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center here following nine-day confinement.

The man manifested symptoms days after he arrived in Tacloban City from Wuhan City in China where he worked.

Persons infected with 2019-nCoV experience fever, cough, respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. In more advanced cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death.

The escalating fear of 2019-nCoV prompted the health department to heighten its drive to contain the spread of the highly-contagious virus.

Molon said they will convene on Tuesday the regional inter-agency task force to assess the preparedness of hospitals and possible responses of various concerned agencies.

“We are under code white alert. We have personnel assigned in airports and other entry in Leyte and Samar provinces to check travelers with flu-like symptoms,” she said.

Molon further said all cases were imported with no evidence of local transmission.

She also assured that all infection and prevention control measures are strictly implemented and followed especially in the isolation area.

As of Monday, the country has 80 PUIs with 67 are currently admitted and isolated, while 10 have been discharged under strict monitoring.

The DOH also reported one PUI death with a negative result, and two confirmed cases with one death. (PNA)

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