Doctor Jaime Bernadas, the director of Central Visayas (Region 7) Center for Health Development, said in a Jan. 31, 2020 press briefing that the infected patient and her Chinese boyfriend were only at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport for about three hours until their departure to Dumaguete.
The Freeman/Aldo Nelbert Banaynal
First novel coronavirus patient stayed in Cebu for only 3 hours — DOH
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - January 31, 2020 - 7:24pm

MANILA, Philippines — The 38-year-old Chinese woman who was reported as the country's first confirmed case of 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease or 2019-nCoV ARD, only stayed in Cebu for about three hours, according to a Department of Health official.

Doctor Jaime Bernadas, the director of Central Visayas (Region 7) Center for Health Development, said in a Friday press briefing that the infected patient and her Chinese boyfriend were only at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport for about three hours until their departure to Dumaguete.

“We belied reports that the patient and her companion spent a day in Cebu. They arrived at Terminal 2 then went directly to Terminal 1. They stayed at the airport then flew to Dumaguete City,” the health official was quoted as saying in a Cebu Daily News report.

The infected patient has since been isolated at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, where her boyfriend was also admitted.

She arrived in the Philippines on January 21 through Hong Kong from Wuhan City in China, the ground zero of the newly discovered strain of coronavirus.

However, the patient said to be asymptomatic or displaying no symptoms, only sought medical attention on January 25, visiting Cebu and Dumaguete before being admitted.

Air carriers Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines announced on Friday that they are contacting the passengers who were seated near the 2019-nCoV ARD patient when she boarded their respective planes last week.

Meanwhile, Bureau of Quarantine Central Visayas Director doctor Terence Anthony Bermejo said they are currently contact tracing, or locating all the places where the couple visited.

“We cannot give as to how many we are tracing and identifying right now, but we are working on it,” he said.

The MCIA serves at least 32 domestic and 22 international destinations.

It is the country's second busiest airport, posting 8.37 million domestic passengers and 4.29 million international passengers, or 12.66 million total passengers in 2019, according to data from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority.

This means it sees a daily average of around 34,690 passengers.

As of Friday noon, the Health Department recorded 31 patients under investigation (PUI), 24 of whom are currently admitted including the confirmed case.

Six have been discharged under monitoring, while one death due to pneumonia in an immunocompromised PUI has been reported.

The World Health Organization on the last day of January also declared the novel coronavirus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

At least 18 countries outside China have been affected as global confirmed cases have exceeded 8,000 as of writing.

— With reports from Cebu Daily News and The Freeman

2019-NCOV BUREAU OF QUARANTINE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH MACTAN CEBU AIRPORT MACTAN CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT MACTAN CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TERMINAL NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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