TWO co-passengers of the Filipina nurse who tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome–Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) last week reportedly went to the luxurious Amanpulo Resort in Palawan but have yet to be tracked down by the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH-Region IV-B Director Eduardo Janairo yesterday said the flight manifest of the two showed they were bound for Palawan but a check of resorts in the area yielded negative results.

Janairo appealed to resort owners in Palawan to immediately report to the DOH if they have guests manifesting symptoms of the dreaded virus.

“Ang importante ay talagang makipagtulungan ang mga resort owners natin na kapag may kaso doon ay i-report agad sa amin. Basta kapag may nagkasakit sa mga turista nila doon, paki-report lang sa amin,” said Janairo, adding this will help prevent the disease from spreading.

He said the Ospital of Palawan is equipped to handle patients, who need to be isolated if they exhibit the symptoms.

The DOH launched a massive effort last week to trace the whereabouts of 220 other co-passengers of the Filipina nurse who arrived aboard a Saudia flight last February 1.

Last Sunday, the DOH ended the contact tracing after the 14-day incubation period of the virus lapsed.

But Janairo said they won’t let their guards down, adding: “Dapat magbantay pa din kami.” 


DESPITE the entry of the dreaded virus in the country, priests will continue to administer the Sacrament of the Sick even to persons positive for the disease. (The Sacrament of the Sick is one of the Catholic Church’s Seven Sacraments and is administered by priests to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness, especially near the time of death.)

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) Chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos said there is no reason for priests to stop giving the sacrament even if it involves a MERS-CoV patient.

“Ang ating tungkulin ay maging sinuman, anu pa man at malala, kahit anong sakit ay puntahan. Puntahan at bigyan ng nararapat na pagpahid ng langis, at ikumpisal kung kailangan,” Santos said in response to the advice of the DOH over the weekend for priests to avoid giving the Sacreament to MERS-CoV patients.

“Doon ka inordinahan na magbigay ng sakramento kahit kanino pa man. Palagay ko, uunahin natin ang ibang tao at dun natin maipapakita ang pagiging tunay na pari,” said Santos.

Santos, however, added that priests are not exempt from adhering to safety protocols given by health authorities.

“Sinasabihan nga tayo na mag-practice ng self-preservation. Siyempre, titingnan mo ang kalagayan mo at katayuan mo. Kaya nga sinabihan din natin ang mga pari tungkol sa mga precautions,” he said.

This, Santos stressed, is aside from their belief that God will make sure that priests will be kept safe from the dreaded virus.


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