No conclusive evidence that novel coronavirus is airborne – DOH official

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 11) – The claim that the acute respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) could be transmitted through the air has not been proven yet, a Department of Health official said Tuesday.

According to the World Health Organization, there is still no conclusive evidence that 2019-nCoV is airborne, Kenneth Ronquillo, Department of Health Assistant Secretary for Health Policy and Systems Development Team said during the Senate hearing on the effects of the 2019-nCoV outbreak on the tourism sector on Tuesday, dismissing reports which quoted Chinese officials as saying that an infected person could spread the new virus through their breath upon sneezing or coughing.

Wala pa po na-e-establish na [It has not been established that it is] airborne. We asked the WHO last night and there was no study to say it was airborne,” referring to the 2019-nCoV.

Ronquillo added that as of late Monday, they have not received any new information from the WHO on how the new virus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, could spread. The only information confirmed by the WHO so far was that an infected person could transmit the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease through respiratory droplets, the official said.

There is still scant knowledge about the new illness caused by the novel coronavirus – including the source of the infection, the DOH noted.

Health experts continue to race to suppress the outbreak of the viral illness that could easily spread from person to person.

The global death toll caused by the new coronavirus is now at 1,016, mostly in mainland China, CNN reported. More than 43,000 people have already tested positive for the 2019-nCoV infection in more than 25 countries and territories outside of mainland China as of Tuesday morning, CNN said Tuesday.