Quarantine doctors lack defense against viruses

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Despite their readiness, Bureau of Quarantine doctors at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Tuesday admitted that they lack personal protective equipment against deadly viruses.

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“The complete suit, [as a defense against such viruses, for example], is so expensive. It costs about P2,000 each,” NAIA quarantine chief Alexander Oba said.

In some rich countries, he noted, the suit is disposable. But here, Oba said, they are considering soaking used protective suit in sodium hypochlorite that can kill germs and other viruses.

Sodium hypochlorite is a compound that can be effectively used for water purification. It is also used for surface purification, bleaching, odor removal and water disinfection.

The bureau has three shifting schedules and there area at least 10 quarantine staff in every shift.

“[Maybe], we can use it [protective suit]twice then dispose of it. [But there are] proper procedures and place for disposal,” Oba said.

“As far as we know, the Ebola virus might not reach our country because the virus will travel at least three more countries before the Philippines, and [by the time, the virus will be dead].

The airport’s quarantine had purchased suits from abroad for protection such as rubberized coats, gloves, protective masks and locally-made rubber boots.

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