THE government, through the Department of Health (DOH), remains on high alert against the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) even if the foreigner who initially tested positive for the disease has been cleared.
In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday, Presidential Communications Secretary Heminio Coloma Jr. said latest reports from the Health department indicated that the 36-year-old foreigner may soon be released from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
“The patient tested negative on two tests that were undertaken in the past 48 hours,” Coloma said.
Nevertheless, the Palace official stressed that while the other passengers who came in contact with the patient have shown no signs of the disease, the government is not taking chances.
“We continue to heighten monitoring and surveillance and the conduct of quarantine measures in all airports, seaports and other ports of entry to ensure the quick reporting by hospitals of all patients who may show symptoms of MERS-CoV so that they may undergo isolation, contact tracing and treatment base don’t he directive of the President (Benigno Aquino 3rd),” Coloma said.
At the same time, he welcomed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recognition of the government’s rapid strong response to the case of the foreigner, crediting the Health department for such response.
Because of the threat posed by MERS-CoV and other tropical diseases, Coloma said the government has increased the budget of the Department of Health by 25 percent in 2016 to reach P128.5 billion.