Flight attendant in self-quarantine in Aklan after symptoms of coronavirus

Cherry Palma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2020 08:29 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2020 06:22 AM

KALIBO, Aklan (UPDATE)- A flight attendant is in "self-quarantine" at the Kalibo International airport after exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, a health official said. 

The unnamed 24-year-old flight attendant traveled to Wuhan City, China, where the new strain of coronavirus was first detected. 

Dr. Cornelio Cuachon of the Aklan provincial health office said the flight attendant underwent a medical check-up. 

"May history siya ng coughing and galing siya ng Wuhan City, pero confined lang naman siya sa eroplano. Hindi naman siya bumaba, kaya na admit siya and na discharge din siya kanina," said Cuachon.

(She has a travel history in Wuhan City but she was confined at the plane. She did not deplane, and she was admitted and then eventually discharged.)

Health workers extracted samples, which will be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 6, to determine if these will test positive for the virus. 

Two Chinese citizens who were earlier quarantined at the Kalibo airport due to suspected symptoms of novel coronavirus were cleared by health officials, who said the foreigners did not test positive for the disease.

"Their samples and symptoms do not qualify doon sa novel coronavirus," said Cuachon.

Several airports across the Asia-Pacific have tightened security measures for travelers, especially from China after authorities said the virus - which has infected some 440 people in Asia's largest economy - could mutate and be transmitted through the respiratory tract.

China said Wednesday that the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like virus that has killed nine people, infected hundreds in China and spread to other countries could mutate, as authorities scrambled to contain the disease during the Lunar New Year travel season.

The new coronavirus has caused alarm for its similarity to SARS which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

The novel coronavirus is transmitted via the respiratory tract and there "is the possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease," National Health Commission vice minister Li Bin said at a news conference in Beijing.

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