Local health authorities are now awaiting the test results that would confirm whether or not the two Chinese nationals who have been to Bohol and shown symptoms of the coronavirus are positive for the deadly disease.
Swab samples of both patients, aged two and 36, have been sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City and a laboratory in Australia for confirmation, said Doctor Yul Lopez of the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
According to Lopez, the RITM would be able to determine if both were infected with the coronavirus and results may be released within the week.
“Mura’g karong hapon or ugma [marelease],” said Lopez on Thursday. “Ipahibaw g’yud ni nato para ma aware ang public.”
The RITM however would not be able to determine if both patients have the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV which emanated from Wuhan, China as the type of strain can only be confirmed through the Australia-based laboratory.
“Ang strain na specific na similar sa Wuhan maoy ma identify sa Australia pero Ang RITM kutob ra siguro sa pag-identify na coronavirus siya,” said Lopez.
Meanwhile, the two-year-old boy who was earlier examined in isolation at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City already returned to China on Wednesday.
Lopez assured that stringent precautionary measures were taken as the boy traveled from the province to China to prevent the spread of the disease if he indeed has been infected.
The 36-year-old Chinese national meanwhile remained at an Airbnb property in Barangay Tawala in Dauis.
“Ga-close guarding ta ani, og contact-tracing pud na everybody associated with him physically gi sigehan og monitor,” said Lopez.
Lopez said that the boy’s parents and the 36-year-old have been cooperative with local health authorities and are aware that suspected coronavirus patients should be away from other people as test results are awaited.
Alert at airport
It was clarified that both Chinese nationals who showed symptoms of the disease came from Guangdong province, some 900 kilometers away from Hubei province where Wuhan is located. Both provinces are separated by two other provinces, Hunan and Jiangxi.
Meanwhile, heightened health safety measures have been implemented at the Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) in Panglao which caters to flights from China and South Korea.
According to Garlo Petallar, quarantine health nurse for the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), they have been using a thermal scanner at the BPIA to monitor and detect passengers with heightened body temperature which may indicate illness.
But he noted that the device only covers arriving international passengers.
“Ang amoang mandate sa Bureau of Quarantine sa points of entry ra man g’yud na gikan og international flight,” said Petallar, adding that those from outside the country with connecting flights from Metro Manila to Bohol have already been scanned at the capital’s airport.
Every week, two direct flights from China arrive at the BPIA.
Petallar said that the BPIA caters to around 300 passengers from China weekly and each are screened through a thermal scanner.
The China flights however are from Chengdu which is over 1,000 kilometers away from Wuhan where the 2019-nCoV originated and most cases of the disease are recorded.