Compiled by Boni Quirog from the Bohol Quaker worship group, with reports from CNN Philippines.
7 February 2020 – As of this writing, there are already 215 persons being watched within the Philippines for being suspected of Corona Virus infection; 7 of these are in Bohol.
But wait, being a PUI (person under investigation) does not mean you are already infected. It simply means that you might have been exposed, hence, the need to keep you in isolation for observation and medication purposes. Boholanos working in tourist destinations are the ones most threatened with expose due to the influx of tourists from China, Hongkong and Macau.
President Duterte has since declared that all passengers from those places, regardless of nationality, will be quarantined as soon as they disembark. Health experts have also come out to debunk myths on coronavirus and urged the public not to panic in the wake of the spread of fake news and misinformation on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
How is the novel coronavirus transmitted?
One of the most common questions posed is how the virus is being passed on.
Dr. Anna Ong Lim, President of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines, emphasized Friday that the novel coronavirus is transmitted by droplet which requires close contact with a maximum of 6 feet. The virus is not transmitted through air, according to her.
“We should define airborne vs droplet. Droplet means the particles that travel are large enough so they are suspended in the air up to a certain distance and a certain period of time. Airborne means the particles are able to travel over longer distances as is the cases of some respiratory viruses.” She added.
Is it necessary to wear masks?
Genomic scientist and PHIX Genomics CEO Jeffrey Seitz said that masks are more useful for sick people. “The mask would be applicable to those showing symptoms, than those that aren’t.” Seitz said.
Lim said it is important to reinforce proper hygiene practices like washing of hands, and covering of mouth while sneezing or coughing. It is also advised to stay at home as much as possible, Seitz added.
Does the novel coronavirus thrive more in cold places?
There has been information going around the internet saying that the novel coronairus thrives more in cold places. With the lack of information on the said virus, Seitz and Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Rosette Vergeire said they have no definitive answer.
“The flu season thrives in cold months. We can assume that’s the case in coronavirus, but that’s not a definitive,” said Seitz. Vergeire said DOH “can’t really say,” and cannot forecast.
Should Filipinos be worried?
“There’s a big difference between concern and worry. Anxiety is not gonna do [anyone any] good. Mental health contributes to physical health. Let’s be concerned but not worried,” said Seitz. According to Vergeire, the DOH is “still on top” of the situation, especially since the country still has no case of local transmission.
“That is good enough for us right now,” added Vergeire. The World Health Organization ranks the Philippines at Level 4 – second to the highest when it comes to its preparedness and response capacities concerning the novel coronavirus.