336 of 498 PUIs discharged: DOH

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    NEARLY a month since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, the Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 498 patients under investigation (PUIs) in the country, with 336 of them having been discharged from hospitals.

    The other 159 PUIs are still in isolation in various hospitals and are under intense supervision.

    The three others are the confirmed cases of COVID-19, namely a 38-year-old Chinese female who has been discharged, her 44-year-old Chinese male partner who has died, and a 60-year-old Chinese female who has recovered and returned home to Wuhan, China.

    As of last Friday, data from the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau showed that all 455 close contacts of the 38-year-old female and 44-year-old male have been traced, with 277 of them having been interviewed.

    Forty-four of the 277 are now considered PUIs after showing symptoms of the disease, 218 have completed their 14-day home quarantine, while 15 are still on home quarantine.

    The DOH said only 255 out of the 740 close contacts of the 60-year-old Chinese female have been traced so far, with 172 of them having been interviewed.

    Seventeen of the 172 are now (PUIs), 93 have completed their 14-day home quarantine, while 62 are still on home quarantine.

    With the travel ban on Taiwan lifted, the Philippine Manpower Agencies Accredited to Taiwan (PILMAT) yesterday said 5,000 overseas Filipino workers who have been prevented from returning to Taiwan are now eager to be deployed.

    PILMAT president Aida Gerodias said OFWs whose departures have been delayed are now keen on leaving since their employers are awaiting them.

    “The 5,000 OFWs, who were stranded in Manila for their flight to Taiwan, are all eager to return to Taiwan, where their employers are earnestly waiting for them to start working in the production lines,” Gerodias said.

    She said Cebu Pacific will start today, Monday, its early morning flights to Taiwan. Gerodias said Philippine Airlines will start on Feb. 21 its regular flights to Taipei.

    Last Friday, the Philippines lifted its travel ban on Taiwan due to the threat of the virus.

    According to Malacañang, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided to lift the travel ban because of the strict measures being undertaken by Taiwan to contain the spread of the virus.

    Last week, the DOH said Taiwan was included in the travel ban to China, Hong Kong, and Macau due to the “One-China policy.”

    NO ICJ JURISDICTION

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said the International Court of Justice has no jurisdiction to hear the appeal of a group of Filipinos based in Hong Kong who were stranded in Manila due to the government’s travel ban to mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong due to the novel coronavirus.

    Guevarra issued the pronouncement when sought for reaction on the appeal sent by the group #StrandedPH last Friday asking the ICJ based in The Hague, Netherlands to appeal to the Philippine government to allow them to travel to Hong Kong so they could return to work. The group said they have more than 1,000 member-OFWs in Hong Kong. – With Ashzel Hachero