Overseas Filipino workers in South Korea were reminded to be doubly mindful of their health amid the threat of being infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
The latest reminder came from an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, who also asked them to follow local authorities’ health advisories.
“Para naman sa ating mga kababayan na nasa South Korea na nakatira, naglilingkod, at nagtatrabaho, ating subaybayan ang mga habilin ng ating Philippine Embassy sa South Korea at health ministry sa South Korea,” Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, who chairs the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, said on Church-run Radyo Veritas.
He added they should be mindful of their personal hygiene especially in public places.
“(S)a ating lugar at kung tayo ay lalabas sundin natin yung mga patakaran – mga personal hygiene na kung saan magtatakip tayo ng ating bibig, ng ating labi, tayo ay merong sanitizer, na tayo ay mag-iingat sa paghawak sa mga railings – at tayo ay gagawa ng paraan upang ating ma-disinfect ang ating sarili sa pamamagitan ng alcohol at sanitizer at iwasan din natin ang pakikisalamuha sa labas kung hindi naman mahalaga na tayo ay nasa labas, at palagi din nating isipin ang ating pansariling kaligtasan,” he said.
“Ang ating kalusugan ay atin ding pag-ingatan,” he added.
Filipinos were advised last Monday to follow 14 rules to avoid getting infected MERS-CoV.
The Department of Labor and Employment issued the advice as it noted the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has released advisories to alert OFWs of the MERS-CoV threat.
The measures, which include those earlier stated by the Philippine embassy in Seoul, include:
1. Practice healthy habits such as regular exercise, balanced diet, and adequate sleep of at least eight hours.
2. Wash your hands with soap or hand rubs with alcohol before and after eating; before and after handling, cooking and preparing food; after coughing, sneezing and using the toilets; and after touching animals.
3. Avoid touching your face, especially the eye area, nose, and mouth, with unwashed hands.
4. Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs, handles.
5. Practice proper cough etiquette by covering your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.
6. Use a facial tissue when coughing or sneezing and cover your mouth and nose with it. Dispose of the tissue in a waste basket.
7. Avoid contact with farm and domesticated animals, including camels.
8. Avoid contact with sick or infected with MERS-CoV. If you have respiratory illness, stay home and wear a surgical mask (ideally N95) to protect your family members.
9. Avoid going out unnecessarily. Stay put inside your homes and avoid public – especially confined – spaces. If travel cannot be avoided, please wear protective mask and observe proper hand hygiene at all times.
10. Make sure children follow these precautions.
11. If you are a health worker, strictly follow infection control protocols in your work.
12. If you were in close contact with a confirmed MERS-CoV patient, comply with local health regulations and postpone any trip abroad until after test results are negative. Health workers who have been exposed to MERS-CoV patients are requested to undergo testing.
13. Know the symptoms of MERS-CoV (fever, shortness of breath, breathing difficulty, coughing, diarrhea and kidney failure).
14. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, you are advised to undergo voluntary testing at your nearest hospital.