2 patients under coronavirus watch at Palawan hospital

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — A government hospital in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan has placed two patients under observation amid heightened precautions against the novel coronavirus.

Audie Cipriano, chief of the medical staff at Ospital ng Palawan, said a 10-year-old Brazilian girl and another Taiwanese child are being held for the next 24 hours.

Cipriano said the Brazilian child and her family live in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak of the deadly new virus began. The family arrived in El Nido, Palawan last Wednesday for a vacation.

The girl was brought to the hospital at around 1:00 a.m. Saturday, but Cipriano noted that her fever has gone down.

"Mukha naman pong nag-dedecrease na 'yung symptoms... We are still advising na yung batang Brazilian to have a confirmatory test," Cipriano said.

[Translation: It seems the symptoms are decreasing. We are still advising that the Brazilian child undergo confirmatory test.]

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese child was transferred to the Ospital ng Palawan from a private hospital after her parents said she may have been exposed to people from Wuhan.

Cipriano said the young Taiwanese patient has pneumonia, and the doctors are now trying to determine if it was bacterial or viral.

"Kung bacterial siya hindi siya corona, kasi virus ang corona e (If it's bacterial then it's not corona because corona is a virus)," Cipriano said.

He said patients should be isolated for five to 14 days under the protocol, but the families of both patients are insisting on being discharged as soon as possible.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque told CNN Philippines local test results on the two tourists are expected by Sunday. He said specimens have been sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The new coronavirus, believed to be a cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, has left 41 people dead in mainland China.

According to the World Health Organization, common signs of coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Following the spread of the new coronavirus in parts of Asia, the United States, France, and most recently, Australia, the Philippines' Department of Health has asked all tourists who have been to Wuhan and who show symptoms to immediately seek medical attention.

There is no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines. A five-year-old Chinese boy recently tested negative for the virus, while the DOH said it is monitoring a 36-year-old man from Tacloban.

CNN Philippines' Stringer Catherine Santos contributed to this report.