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OFWs alerted on strict hospital visiting hours amid spread of Wuhan virus

21 January 2020

By The SUN

The most serious cases are in North District Hospital in Sheung Shui, near the Chinese border

 Filipinos should be aware of strict visiting hours imposed in Hong Kong public hospitals, according to a welfare officer at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, as official reports indicate the flu that started from Wuhan province has spread to other parts of China.

WelOf  Marivic C. Clarin said today, Jan 21, that hospital visits have been limited to two evening hours a day at varying times in different wards, and visitors are required to wear masks and wash their hands before and after visiting.

Clarin said those who are planning to visit patients should check the visiting hours and restrictions imposed by hospitals to avoid wasting time and fare money.
She also advised Filipino workers to schedule themselves for free anti-flu shots at designated centers, and employers should do their part by encouraging their workers to get vaccinated.

At Polo, staff members have already been advised to wear surgical masks as a preventive measure and some workers lining up for services have done likewise, Clarin said.
Meanwhile, Chinese officials have confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus, which is similar to the one that caused the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome that killed hundreds of people 17 years ago.

Get flu shots, Clarin tells OFWs
The new virus has killed at least six people in China, and infected nearly 300 others. Latest reports indicate it has spread to 20 other Chinese cities, with most of the patients being detected in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

Hong Kong, which has no confirmed case of the Wuhan infection, is not included.

In the Philippines, the first suspected case of the Wuhan flu was reported today. A five-year-old boy who had visited Wuhan, was admitted to a hospital in Cebu City after showing flu-like symptoms.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque II said discharge samples were taken from the boy and sent to Australia to find out what strain of the virus had made him sick.
While there has been no confirmed case of the coronavirus in Hong Kong, patients who show symptoms of having the Wuhan pneumonia are being reported daily by public hospitals.

As of noon today, Jan 21, 11 patients (five male and six female, aged 8 to 82) were reported to have been admitted to public hospitals in the past 24 hours after showing signs of the flu.

Yesterday, seven patients (two males and five females aged 1 to 67) were hospitalized, and on Jan 19, 11 others (six males and five females, aged 3 to 87) were admitted to public hospitals.
Currently, there are 21 patients still in isolation, 19 patients are in stable condition, and two patients in North District Hospital are in critical condition and serious condition, respectively, due to underlying diseases.

One patient passed away yesterday but her test result was negative for the novel coronavirus. The Department of Health says no patient in Hong Kong has been confirmed as being infected with the virus.

A Hospital Authority spokesperson has advised the public to avoid visiting patients in wards if they have a fever, or have had close contact with patients with respiratory symptoms in places where novel coronavirus infection may have been transmitted.

Earlier on Jan. 4, the HA raised the alert level in public hospitals to “serious” from the previous “alert” in line with the government’s launch of a program meant to step up  its preparedness and response for new infectious diseases “of public health significance.”
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