MANILA — Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday has added his voice to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Health’s (DOH) call for Filipinos in the Middle East to take precautionary measures against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-COV).
“I urge our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) in the Middle East to follow the steps prescribed by the DOH. These are easy enough and should go a long way in preventing infection,” he said.
The Vice President also urged Filipinos in the region not to panic and confirm reports about the virus with Philippine officials in their area.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet declared that there is a MERS-COV outbreak or epidemic, so there is no cause for panic. If rumors start to circulate, the best thing to do is to ask your respective embassies or consulates,” Binay explained. The MERS-COV was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.
According to the WHO website (http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/faq/en/), the countries that have reported cases of MERS include Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (Middle East); France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom (UK) (Europe); and Tunisia and Egypt (Africa).
WHO disclosed that virus appears to be circulating widely throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
“All recent cases that have been reported outside the Middle East first developed infection in the Middle East; then the cases were exported outside the region. These travel‐related cases do not appear to have infected others in their countries.
In 2013 cases exported to France and the UK led to limited human‐to‐human transmission,” the website claimed.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide is recorded at 243, including three deaths.