Another Pinoy Infected with MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia –DFA

(Updated 1:38 p.m.) A Filipino X-ray technician at a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has been infected with the deadly Middle East Coronavirus, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

At the same time, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said at a press conference Thursday that one of three Filipina health workers earlier diagnosed with the virus tested negative for MERS-CoV.

In his briefing, Jose said the Filipino, 41, contracted the virus on the first week of March due to direct exposure to MERS-CoV patients.

Jose said the Filipino patient was transferred to a designated specialist hospital handling MERS cases in Riyadh on March 7 and has since been confined at the ICU.

Since 2013, a total of 10 Filipinos—eight from Saudi and two from the United Arab Emirates—have died from contracting the virus, which is prevalent in the Middle East region, particularly in Saudi Arabia.

Early this month, the DFA announced that three health workers in the Kingdom were infected with MER-CoV, but Jose said one of the three has been declared “fully recovered after her latest tests found her negative of the MERS virus.”

“She has been discharged from the hospital and placed under home isolation for 14 days. She reported back to work on March 16,” Jose said.

The second patient, he added, is still under isolation in the hospital’s staff housing.

“Her medical test found her weak negative, meaning she is no longer positive but still needs further tests,” Jose said.

The third Filipina, on the other hand, is “showing good signs of recovery.”

“She has been released from the ICU and transferred to the ward section of the hospital. She can communicate with her fellow Filipino workers,” Jose said.

Hundreds of Filipino health workers are scattered in hospitals across the Middle East, making them vulnerable to contracting the disease.

The Philippines is not imposing any travel ban to the Arabian Peninsula, but has called on Filipinos in the Middle East to exercise vigilance and practice health precautions for their own protection.

Filipino healthcare workers, Jose said, are advised to follow the infection prevention protocol in their hospital and to seek medical attention in case they experience any of the disease’s symptoms.

Symptoms of MERS-COV include fever, cough, shortness of breath and even diarrhea.

(Source: RSJ, GMA News)

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