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3 Filipinos from cruise ship monitored for covid-19

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THREE of the more than 400 Filipinos who came home from a coronavirus-infected cruise ship in Yokohama have been identified as persons under investigation after showing respiratory illnesses, the Department of Health (DoH) said on Friday.

The patients include a 39 year-old man who experienced cough and two other men aged 34 and 27 years old who complained of throat discomfort, it said.

The more than 400 Filipinos don’t have fever, while two had tested negative, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said at a briefing.

Also on Friday, an inter-agency task force said Filipinos from North Gyeongsang, Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, where cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) have ballooned in the past days, won’t be allowed to come home to the Philippines.

Travelers who visited these places in the past two weeks have also been banned from entering the country, DoH said.

Nine new countries have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus strain, which has killed about 2,800 people worldwide, the vast majority in mainland China, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

New cases were reported in Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Romania and North Macedonia in the past 24 hours, WHO said on its website.

There have been more than 82,000 cases in 46 countries, with infections in every continent except Antarctica.

At least 11 European countries now have confirmed cases of covid-19, while the number of people infected in South Korea has risen to 1,700

At least 13 people have died from the virus in South Korea, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus could be contained if countries act aggressively.

“You can prevent people getting sick,” according to a transcript of his opening remarks at a briefing posted on the WHO website. “You can save lives. So my advice to these countries is to move swiftly,” he added.

“The epidemics in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea demonstrate what this virus is capable of,” the WHO chief said. “But this virus is not influenza. With the right measures, it can be contained.”

He noted that in Guangdong province in China, 320,000 samples had been tested but only 0.14% tested positive for the disease.

Several countries, including the Philippines, have not reported new infections in two weeks.

Confirmed cases in the Philippines remained at three, all of whom were Chinese nationals from Wuhan City, where the virus was first detected.

“Fear and panic doesn’t help,” Mr. Ghebreyesus said. “People can have concerns and rightly so. People can be worried and rightly so. The most important thing is to calm down and do the right things to fight this very dangerous virus.” — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Charmaine A. Tadalan





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