Entry of travelers from China closely monitored after ‘mysterious’ virus outbreak

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 January) — Authorities here are closely monitoring travelers from China who are entering Davao City, following an outbreak of a pneumonia-like disease caused by a “mysterious” virus that originated from a seafood market in Wunan City, Department of Health (DOH) assistant secretary Abdullah Dumama said on Tuesday.

In a press conference, Dumama said no ban has been imposed against travelers from China but added travelers from China entering here via the F. Bangoy International Airport and other Chinese vessels within the waters off Davao region are closely being monitored.

He said they were told by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III “that we need to be screening and tightly monitoring those coming from China.”

Dumama said the Davao airport has been equipped with a thermal monitor to determine who among the passengers are suffering from fever, one of the symptoms of pneumonia, and to place them immediately on quarantine if necessary.

“The thermal monitor is operating every day. Authorities will visit the vessels every day,” he said.

Chinese medical experts reported that patients who have been inflicted with this “mysterious” disease have shown signs and symptoms similar to pneumonia-like headache, cough, colds, and joint pains, according to Dumama.

He said Chinese authorities had ruled out that the possibility it was a similar virus that caused the illnesses such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), ebola, or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-COV) since the “unidentified” strain does not spread through human transmission.

Dumama urged the travelers from China to voluntarily submit for checkup if they manifest signs and symptoms of pneumonia days after arriving here or immediately submit themselves for checkup upon arriving at the airport.

The health official also asked the travelers to fill out accurately the health declaration checklist at the airport so that local authorities can easily determine where the patients had traveled prior to their return in the country

He said those who are exhibiting signs and symptoms such as cough, colds, headache, “you can come to us and undergo the screening. We will just simply get your temperature. It will not cause you inconvenience,” he added.

Dumama appealed to the netizens to refrain from sharing misinformation on the social media to avoid creating panic. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)