Immigration officers to wear N95 masks amid suspected new coronavirus case
Immigration personnel, especially those who interview passengers, have been instructed to wear face masks and to use hand sanitizer
Bureau of Immigration Facebook page
Immigration officers to wear N95 masks amid suspected new coronavirus case
Kristine Joy Patag ( - January 21, 2020 - 4:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration has directed all immigration officers to wear N95 masks as the Department of Health look into suspected novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) case.

A source told that Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has instructed Ports Operations Division chief Grifton Medina to issue the directive for immigration officers, especially those who interview passengers.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval confirmed this to “As preventive measure, they are advised to wear masks,” she added.

The source said Immigration staff have been told to take all necessary precautions and that the bureau is already buying masks and hand sanitizer for their protection.

An N95 mask filters at least 95% of very small test particles. 

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, N95-type respirators are recommended "for use by health care workers in contact with patients with infections that are transmitted from inhaling airborne droplets" and those working with patients who have or are suspected to have Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health said it is investigating a pneumonia case of a five-year old in Cebu City. The child, admitted to a Cebu City hospital, manifested fever, throat irritation and cough prior to entrance to the country.

The DOH noted that the child has a travel history in Wuhan, China, where the 2019-nCoV was first detected December last year.

Tourists with flu-like symptoms in Aklan

The Health department is also monitoring three Chinese nationals with flu-like symptoms in Kalibo, Aklan.

They were referred to be quarantined by the Bureau of Quarantine after showing flu-like symptoms such as cold, cough, sore throat and fever upon their entry at Kalibo International Airport from China.

According to Cornelio Cuachon Jr., Aklan provincial health office, these individuals only stayed overnight in the provincial hospital and were discharged when they no longer manifested any symptoms.

Cuachon, in a phone patch interview with CNN Philippines, said the three tourists were from Nanjin, Shanghai and Chengdu in China, respectively. Nanjin is a six-hour drive away from Wuhan but the health officer said the Chinese nationals do not have a recent travel history in Wuhan.

Despite being out of the hospital, Cuachon said the three tourists would continuously undergo monitoring.

China has earlier confirmed human-to-human transmission in the outbreak of the SARS-like virus that has infected at least 200 in China.

Four people have reportedly died from the mysterious disease. — with reports from Rosette Adel

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