VIRUS IN PARADISE? 2,000 Boracay tourists under monitoring for nCoV

first_imgAccording to Department of Health secretary Francisco Duque III the South Koreans in Boracay are among the 26 Korean national that the country are eyeing for a possible coronavirus disease 2019. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN Barangay health emergency responseteams may also be utilized, Convocar added. She appealed for help from theDepartment of Health (DOH) Western Visayas during yesterday’s meeting of theRegional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council here. PUMs are those with a history oftravel or history of contact with a known confirmed case but do not manifestsigns and symptoms. Interestingly, the 2,000 Boracay PUMswere not included in the DOH Region 6 list it disclosed on Monday, Feb. 3. Itonly reported seven PUMs on top of the eight persons under investigation (PUI). Fulgencio said the Municipal HealthOffice of Malay is having a hard time monitoring the 2,000 PUMs. “If we could change the mindset of thehotel owners, they (PUMs) can still stay in the hotels para ma-monitor ang ila temperatureeveryday in the next 14 days,” said Convocar. The Kalibo International Airport hadsix direct flights weekly to Wuhan City and vice versa operated by two airlines– Pan PacificAirlines and Royal Air Charter. Fulgencio lamented, too, that some ofthe tourism accommodation establishments were reluctant to cooperate with Malayhealth authorities. The virus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptomsusually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. Fulgencio revealed one case – a hotelstaff panicked and abruptly left after one Chinese client coughed. Offended,the Chinese national and other clients bolted out of the hotel. According to DOH-6 director MarlynConvocar, the local government of Malay could tap for the PUMs’ monitoring the168 “human resources for health” personnel that the regional health officeassigned to Aklan; 78 of them are nurses. Most of these “persons undermonitoring” (PUMs) are Chinese nationals and staying in various hotels in theworld-famous island, according to Catherine Fulgencio, Malay’s MunicipalDisaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief. Chinesenationals are the top foreign visitors in Boracay. Last year the island wasvisited by 434,175 Chinese tourists – 41.84 percent of the total 1,032,619foreigners that visited Boracay. “They are billeted in various tourismaccommodation establishments. It would be better if these establishments havesafety officers or medical teams regularly reporting to us the health status ofthe PUMs, if these tourists manifest flu-like symptoms,” she said. Fulgencio also expressed concern oversigns of Sinophobia in Boracay due to the nCoV. Where will these PUMs stay if theyhave nowhere else to go, asked Fulgencio. ILOILO City – An estimated 2,000tourists in Boracay Island are being monitored for possible novel coronavirus(2019-nCoV) infection. But the task is overwhelming, according to the localgovernment unit of Malay, Aklan which has jurisdiction over Boracay. It doesnot have the logistics. A day before CAB issued the suspensionorder, the airport on Jan. 23 received a flight from Wuhan, according toEngineer Eusebio Monserate, airport manager. According to Fulgencio, these 2,000PUMs are what remain of the 5,400 tourists who entered Boracay since Jan. 20,2019 prior to the Jan. 24 order of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) suspendingall airline operations between the Chinese city of Wuhan – epicenter of thenCoV outbreak – and any destination in the Philippines. One option is to make the AklanTraining Center a holding area but the center has a capacity of only 200individuals, said Fulgencio. “Probably indi pa gid clear sa ila konano ang role nila when it comesto nCoV monitoring,” she said. Barangay health emergency responseteams can discreetly check the PUMs in hotels, she said. Local residents or domestic touristsappeared to be avoiding Chinese nationals, said Fulgencio, and even the PUMsthemselves appeared hesitant to be interviewed regarding their health andtravel history, among others. If one has a history of travel and hasclose contact with one who is positive for nCoV and manifest fever, cough andcold, he or she is considered a PUI./PN It was unclear while this was beingwritten, whoever, if the three barangays composing Boracay – Yapak, Bulabog andManoc-Manoc – have functional barangay health emergency responseteams. “Once fever or any other health issuesare detected, the hotel management must immediately be informed. If we can dothis, there is no need to make the Aklan Training Center a holding area for thePUMs,” said Convcar.last_img