DOH sees more cases of H1N1 coming

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    BALANGA CITY – Health Sec. Francisco Duque said on Wednesday they are anticipating more cases of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus in the country but made the assurance that government is ready for any eventuality.

    “Bagama’t dalawa pa lamang ang kumpirmadong kaso ng H1N1 virus sa Pilipinas, inaasahan ng Department of Health na darami ito sapagka’t patuloy ang pagpasok sa ating bayan ng mga negosyante at turista samantalang ang mga kababayan natin ay patuloy naman sa paglabas ng ating bansa,” he said.

    But Duque calmed down fears on the virus claiming that government has more than a million capsules good for 100,000 patients and that the DOH has an ongoing contact tracing scheme for those affected or exposed to  H1N1.

    “Huwag matakot dahil handa ang pamahalaan, handa ang DOH,” the secretary repeatedly assured. On the two confirmed cases in the Philippines, he said that both are well and do not have any symptoms, being closely monitored and to be discharged soon once their repeat PCR becomes negative for H1N1.

    He also announced findings of health experts and health officials of various countries that H1N1 is a mild form of influenza illness. He disclosed that there are now 39 new cases under observation in the country but with only 28 still pending after 11 were proven negative.

    On those who had contact with mother and daughter Taiwanese nationals, DOH Region 3 Director Rio Magpantay said eight persons were quarantined and awaiting results of laboratory tests.  “Kung negative na sila sa virus, pauuwiin na natin sila,” Duque said, adding that they are in continuous monitoring of others who had contacts with the Taiwanese in Zambales.

    The health secretary made it clear that the Philippines has not imposed a travel ban but merely an advisory so those traveling overseas will know which country is affected by the H1N1 flu to make necessary precautions.

    He reiterated that he has no plan of recommending the cancellation of the opening of classes on June 1. “Walang outbreak at hindi dapat katakutan ang virus,” the secretary said.

    Duque was guest during the groundbreaking of the two units of 2-storey buildings of the Bataan General Hospital, a government tertiary hospital in Balanga City.  The two structures will stand side by side with  Building 1 of BGH and other wards with 350 beds.

    Gov. Enrique Garcia said Bldgs. 2 and 3 were funded by DOH at P50 million each.  Bldg. 1 will house delivery and operating rooms while Bldg. 2 will have additional wards. The governor said DOH and the provincial government will finalize a Memorandum of Agreement whereby the two entities will form a partnership in running and operating the BGH.

    The first such partnership in the country, Duque expressed the hope that more provinces will follow suit.

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