FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Friday assured the public that the government is doing everything to prevent possible entry of the dreaded Ebola virus into the country.
In an interview over ANC’s Headstart program, del Rosario noted that measures are being undertaken to prepare for the return of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Ebola-hit countries in West Africa especially Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
“The government is developing facilities for them. I’m not sure that all of them would want to come home but those who will come home will be quarantined,” he said.
Del Rosario added that the country is vulnerable to possible entry of the Ebola virus, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives, since there are 10 million Filipinos living and working abroad.
Official records showed there are about 880 Filipinos in Guinea, 632 in Liberia (including 148 United Nations Filipino peacekeepers) and 1,979 in Sierra Leone.
Ebola virus is a severe and often fatal illness, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) has a case fatality rate of 90 percent.
The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals, and it spreads through human-to-human transmission.
Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and impaired kidney and liver functions.
In some cases, people infected with the virus can suffer from both external and internal bleeding.
“Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available at the moment for use in people or animals,” the WHO said.
The Philippine Embassy in Kenya has jurisdiction over Philippine interests and affairs in Sierra Leone, Libera and Guinea, which are currently all under Alert Level 2 but could be raised to Alert Level 3, or voluntary repatriation by mid-November.
Under Alert Level 2, there is a partial deployment ban, which means only those with existing contracts can go back to the Ebola-affected countries.
Under Alert Level 3, a total deployment ban is activated, meaning newly hired and those with existing contracts will not be able to travel to host countries.