Despite the fact that there are only three confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country so far, the government, according to President Rodrigo Duterte, is not taking any chances.
The President, in a message Thursday, assured the nation that the government, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), medical societies and partners in the private sector, are addressing the challenge and preparing for any eventuality brought by the COVID-19.
He also called on the people to remain calm and vigilant as the world faces the threat.
“Today, we face a very real threat, the novel coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19. As of now there are only three confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection. None of those infected is a Filipino national. There is no evidence yet of local community transmission here in our country,” the President said.
“I call on our people to remain calm, vigilant, responsible and I also ask your trust and cooperation, support as we face the challenge. Tayo ay magkaisa (We all should unite) together as one nation, this challenge can be overcome,” he said.
The President. in his address, also assured Filipinos still in China that government is ready to bring them home back to the country.
“Last Sunday, we repatriated several of our countrymen from the affected areas in China. The government is taking care of them while they are in quarantine,” the President said
“To our kababayans who remain in lockdown areas in China, I assure you that the government is ready to bring you home if you want. We will not neglect you,” he added.
The President said it is normal for the people to feel anxious about the threat posed by the virus but vigilance is a key in ensuring that one is protected from it.
“To my fellow Filipinos, I understand many of you are worried about the world health and the well-being of our loved ones. It is normal to feel anxious, concerned and even afraid,” the President said.
“Stay clean. Wash your hands frequently. In every handshake, when you sneeze, you immediately cover your mouth to ensure that you won’t infect anyone. If you cough, you need to ensure that you wear a mask,” he added.
The President reminded everyone not to believe unverified information and get important information from the WHO and the government.
“Just focus on the government. The truth is with government, not on those who spread fear on the people),” he said.
The Department of Education on Thursday assured students that its task force on COVID-19 is strengthening measures against the deadly virus.
“You are important to DepEd. We know that your dreams cannot wait. That’s why your education must continue that is why we have Memorandum 15 because we don’t want to your learning to be delayed by any virus or outbreak,” DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua said during his visit on Wednesday at the Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science-Technology High School in Quezon City.
Rest assured that DepEd’s priority is your safety and continued education,” he added.
Pascua encouraged all individuals to follow protective measures such as practicing hand hygiene and proper coughing etiquette; avoiding symptomatic individuals and contact with farm and wild animals; consuming enough water; cooking food thoroughly; seeking immediate consultation when symptoms occur; initiating self-quarantine for 14 days (those with travel history and exposure); and enhancing standard infection prevention and control practices for all health facilities.
“For us to be successful, the DepEd needs your cooperation. Your teachers and DepEd personnel are doing their jobs to protect you,” he emphasized.
Pursuant to DepEd Memorandum 11, DepEd Task Force COVID-19, in cooperation with the Department of Health, will lead the overall efforts of the Department within the school system in addressing the situation through formulation of policies and development strategies and action plans, implementation of its response to the virus, including decisions for school suspensions, and promulgation of standard protocols in DepEd offices and schools.
Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos who tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus inside the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan has climbed to 11, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced.
The DFA reported that as of Thursday, 11 Filipinos have already acquired the Wuhan coronavirus.
According to DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez, all 11 Pinoys are crew members.
All Pinoys who have tested positive are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in and around Tokyo area.
The DFA, however, reported that there were no Filipinos who tested positive for COVID-19 after 44 passengers were checked on Thursday.
“The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo is in regular communication with the Filipinos in the hospitals and noted that they are responding well to treatment,” the DFA statement read.
“The Embassy, in coordination with the Japanese Government, is sending care packages containing toiletries and non-medical supplies to Filipinos who are in hospital as well as those who remain on board the Diamond Princess.”
with Neil Alcober