Cebuana Found Negative of MERS-CoV, Italian Tourist Suspected of Infection Still Not Found

CEBU CITY — Health authorities have allowed a person under investigation (PUI) for possible Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) infection to stay at home after she tested negative of the deadly viral disease.

But officials of the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas (Region 7) said they still have to locate an Italian tourist who is also considered a PUI.

MERS-CoV, a viral disease discovered in 2012, has entered the country this year via a Filipina nurse from Saudi Arabia.

The PUI from Cebu City was among the passengers in the plane with the nurse who tested positive of MERS-CoV upon arriving home.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said the results on the Cebuana came out Friday after samples were obtained from her the night before.

Dr. Dino Caing, Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (Resu) chief, said the woman did not display primary symptoms of MERS-CoV such as fever, cough, and pneumonia, but they would continue observing her.

“She will still be monitored and will be subject for follow-up even if asymptomatic (showing no symptoms),” Caing said.

The woman is also prohibited from joining social gatherings to reduce the risk of her spreading the virus.

As this developed, health authorities have sought the help of the Bureau of Immigration in checking if the Italian tourist, a fellow airplane passenger of the Filipino nurse, has left the country as well as to trace the places in the country the Italian had been to.

The hotel contact number that the tourist declared in the checklist of the Bureau of Quarantine could not be reached, regional epidemiologist Rennan Cimafranca said.

Health authorities found out that the hotel matched two establishments with a similar name and that they learned the foreign PUI has already checked out last Feb. 5 after checking in on Feb. 1.

(Source: Eddie O. Barrita, Philippines News Agency –

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