Philippine Eagle Center temporarily closed due to bird flu, COVID-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Mar) – The Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) will be temporarily closed indefinitely starting Wednesday due to the re-emergence of H5N6 avian influenza or bird flu in Nueva Ecija and to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among visitors in Davao City.

The Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City. MindaNews file photo

The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), which manages the eagle center, announced in a statement issued Tuesday that the move to close the PEC until further notice is to support efforts in prioritizing public health and safety.

“Thus, we endeavor to keep our guests, staff, the Philippines eagles, and other animals in our care safe from these grave threats to health,” it added.

The H5N6 outbreak was last observed in 2017 in Luzon. Two years later, the PEF loaned out Geothermica and Sambisig, a pair of captive-bred Philippine eagles, to Jurong Bird Park in Singapore, as an effort to preserve the raptor’s genetic stock.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health-Davao confirmed on Sunday Davao’s first COVID-19 case, a 21-year-old patient who came from the United Kingdom now admitted at the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum.

The Philippines’s 130th confirmed case (thus called PH130), the patient traveled from the UK with a layover in Doha, Qatar to Manila then to Davao on February 29.

The patient was placed in isolation on March 9 at a local health facility after seeking consultation due to cough. The following day, she was transferred and admitted for isolation and testing to the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City.

The DOH-Davao said the patient is in stable condition, and assured the public that “all necessary containment measures are being implemented to prevent local transmission of the virus.”

It said DOH is now closely coordinating with the concerned local government unit and DRMC “where the patient is admitted, for concerted actions on identifying persons who had interaction with the confirmed case, strengthening infection prevention and control protocols and for further developments arising from this health event.”

It added that the Contact Tracing Team of the agency is coordinating with City Government of Tagum, and that those persons whom the patient has interacted with would be checked. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)