OFW in HK under quarantine

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    A FILIPINA domestic helper in Hong Kong has been put under quarantine after coming into contact with two guests of her employer who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

    The Philippine Consulate General said although the Filipina remained healthy and showed no signs of being infected with the coronavirus, she was still placed under quarantine as part of the health protocol in the territory.

    “Given Hong Kong’s strict protocols and heightened emergency alert, even healthy individuals may be subjected to quarantine procedures if there is proof of contact,” the consulate said.

    The consulate added they are closely monitoring the condition of the Filipina in coordination with local health authorities. The consulate said it is confident the Filipina would be eventually released from quarantine.

    There are about 238,000 Filipinos living and working in the former British colony, including some 219,000 domestic workers.

    The consulate had earlier called on Filipinos in the territory to strictly abide by the health protocols being implemented by local authorities to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

    Local authorities have also announced the closure of popular tourist destinations Disneyland and Ocean Park as part of the measures to prevent the spread of the virus, which started in the city of Wuhan.

    Despite having no confirmed cases yet, the Philippines is treating the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as a public health emergency.

    “We already triggered our incident command system. We are treating it as a public health emergency,” said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, adding this is due to the proximity of China and the high traffic of Chinese tourists and workers in the country.

    “We are on alert because we are really near China. The Asian region, of course, has higher probability of the virus coming in compared to countries that are more distant,” said Domingo.

    Last Friday night, the DOH reported that the 5-year-old Chinese boy in Cebu City tested negative for the 2019-nCoV based on the tests conducted by the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.

    After yielding a positive result for pancoronavirus assay from the Research Institute for

    Tropical Medicine (RITM), oropharyngeal and serum specimens from the child were sent to Australia for identification of the specific coronavirus strain.

    Earlier Friday, the DOH said they are looking at another suspected case of the 2019-nCoV in the Philippines, a 36-year-old male in Tacloban City who came from Wuhan, China who manifested symptoms of the virus. – With Gerard Naval