MANILA – The Department of Health recently released the names of the 418 passengers aboard Etihad Airways flight EY 0424—the same flight that carried the Filipino nurse who tested positive for MERS-CoV from Abu Dhabi to Manila on April 15.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has claimed over 200 lives in the Middle East.
Having tested positive for MERS-CoV in Abu Dhabi before his flight, the Filipino nurse is now cleared of the virus after a battery of tests. Experts still say that this does not rule out the possibility of spreading the virus during the 7-hour flight since he is known as a “carrier” of the virus—someone who doesn’t show manifestations or symptoms but is carrying the said disease.
DOH maintains that the Philippines remain to be MERS-CoV-free. However, authorities are still urging the EY 0424 passengers to come forward and be tested to rule out the virus.
“Hence, all those who travelled with our Index Passenger are still deemed to be at risk, especially if we consider further that they all came from the Middle East, a high-risk area, and that the incubation period for this disease is up to 14 days… To rule out any possibility of infection, we strongly urge all of the other passengers of EY 0424 to immediately submit themselves to testing,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.
The DOH has contacted 119 out of 418 passengers so far. 40 of those contacted were tested negative for the MERS-CoV. The nurse’s wife, two children, helper, and his welcome party at the airport were also quarantined and tested as a safety measure. All tests yielded negative results.
DOH’s Task Force MCV continues to call out to the Etihad passengers in order to ascertain their health status, especially during the virus’ 14-day incubation period.
“We are calling the attention of Filipinos who have returned recently from the Middle East to report to the nearest hospital if they experience symptoms of MERS-CoV which are similar to the indications of flu, including fever with cough, cold or sneezing,” Ona said.
The Department of Health urges all passengers of Etihad Airways Flight EY0424 that arrived at the #NAIA on April 15 to be in touch in order to rule out the possibility that they may have been similarly exposed to the MERS-CoV. Please call the following DOH hotlines: 711-1001; 711-1002; 0922-884-1564; 0920-949-8419; 0915-772-5621.
With report from Jet Villa (InterAksyon) and Agence France-Presse