8 who came in contact with PH coronavirus cases under observation for flu-like symptoms – DOH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 3)— Eight persons who came in close contact with the Chinese couple positive for the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease have been placed under observation after showing flu-like symptoms, the Health Department said Monday.

They are some of the new patients under investigation or PUI in the Philippines— which upped its count from 31 a day earlier to 80 cases as of Monday noon.

Doon sa PUIs na reported today, may nakita tayo sa contact tracing, may nagkaroon ng symptoms ng ubo at sipon. At eto (walo) ay nakasama sa bilang natin ngayon,” DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Chito Avelino said in a media briefing.

[Translation: For the PUIs reported today, we saw, through the contact tracing, that there were some who had symptoms like cough and colds.]

The department said authorities have already reached out to the other “close contacts” of the couple— who arrived in the country on January 21 and traveled to Cebu, Dumaguete, and Manila. The close contacts were also given instructions on proper isolation and monitoring procedures, DOH added.

80 under observation

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said 67 of the PUIs are still confined and isolated in various hospitals around the country. Ten persons, on the other hand, have been discharged but remain under strict monitoring.

The remaining people classified as PUIs include the Philippines’ two confirmed coronavirus cases-- the Chinese couple— as well as the San Lazaro Hospital patient with HIV who died of pneumonia.

Duque added that 30 of the cases under investigation tested negative for the respiratory illness, also known as 2019-nCoV ARD. Results of 48 other samples remain pending.

READ: Clean devices, drink fluids: Simple ways to protect yourself from coronavirus

The death on Saturday of the country's second case— a 44-year-old man from China— marked the first reported death due to the novel coronavirus outside of China. He was the partner of the Chinese woman who first tested positive for the new virus. The couple arrived on Jan. 21 via Hong Kong from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to hold an “emergency meeting” on Monday afternoon to address issues surrounding the Philippine government’s campaign against the illness.

The chief executive on Sunday expanded the temporary travel ban that now covers foreigners coming into the country directly from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau or who had been to those places within 14 days immediately preceding their arrival in the Philippines

Filipinos and holders of permanent resident visa will be allowed to enter the country from those places but will undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine. Filipinos are also temporarily banned from traveling to China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The new coronavirus originated in China, where it has left over 360 people dead. It has since spread to at least 27 countries and territories, with the first death outside China reported in the Philippines.