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Imee: nCoV trickier than SARS, is gov’t ready for long-haul threat?

SENATOR Imee Marcos said the government must be ready to deal with  months-long epidemic of the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has just declared as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The ferocity of the 2019-nCoV became evident Thursday, as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recorded more than 7,800 cases of infection in January alone.

It took six months for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, which lasted from November 2002 to July 2003, to reach 5,000 cases of infection, according to a Johns Hopkins University report. 

“Napakabilis ng pagdami ng mga kaso ng impeksyon hindi lang sa China kundi sa buong mundo. Ibig sabihin nito ay maaring tumagal pa ng ilang buwan ang problema.  Sana lang ay hindi madamay ang ating mga OFW sa iba’t ibang bansa,” Marcos said.

Marcos said the country’s limited capacity and reliance on foreign expertise to promptly detect the 2019-nCoV virus called for “stronger measures than just advisories on face masks, hand-washing, and prayers.”

Marcos added that the time window for the planned evacuation of Filipinos in Wuhan may have already closed, even as planes chartered by Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and France started to repatriate their nationals from the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV epidemic this week.

Citing that China had put on hold Thailand’s evacuation of its nationals, Marcos said that at least 150 OFWs stranded in Wuhan should already be advised of plans to ensure their continued access to health and diplomatic aid and to communication with their families.

Marcos added that Filipinos in Wuhan may still have to brace themselves for momentary isolation from their families if they are repatriated, since precautionary measures will require them to undergo quarantine upon arrival.|-BNN