The number of people under investigation in the Philippines for the possible novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has risen to 178, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday, February 6.
“Of the total 178 [people under investigation (PUIs)], 147 are admitted in hospitals, 10 have refused admission and 16 have already been discharged under strict monitoring,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III at a press conference.
He added that 84 of the 178 have tested negative for the virus while the laboratory tests on samples taken from 127 PUIs are still pending.
Duque assured that the DOH is coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in requiring asymptomatic PUIs to be admitted to health facilities.
“We are working with the PNP to compel these PUIs refusing admission to agree to undergo isolation and testing,” he said, stressing that identifying all the PUIs tested and confined is necessary to stop the threat of the potentially deadly virus.
Duque also said that DOH officials are discussing with public cemeteries about the possible burial of the remains of the Chinese national who died due to the nCoV as private cemeteries refused to cremate the victim.
“I have instructed the San Lazaro Hospital to coordinate with public cemeteries if they can just bury the corpse, because based on information, they don’t have cremation there,” he said.
He urged the government to coordinate with the Chinese government since the initial agreement was for the victim’s remains to be cremated.
Decline in 1-2 months
According to the DOH, the number of PUIs in the country is expected to drop dramatically within the next two months.
“We see a drop in cases in one to two months since we have already stopped the entry of travelers from China,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said.
“Since there are no more travelers coming from China, we will just be monitoring those who are already here and the number of the PUIs will start to drop,” he added.
Duque also said that concerned government agencies are continuously tracing people who made contact with the three confirmed cases of the nCoV infection in the country.