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Chinese boy suspected of nCoV tests negative

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The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said samples from the five-year-old Chinese boy suspected of being infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have tested negative.

“This is indeed very welcome news to ease the Filipinos’ growing concern. I assure everyone that your Department of Health will not stop here and is on top of this emerging health event. We will continue to monitor the developing situation and ensure mechanisms to contain the threat of the 2019-nCoV,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement late Friday night.

The test was performed at the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia.

On January 21, the DOH disclosed that the boy, manifesting pneumonia-like symptoms and with a history of travel from Wuhan, China, was admitted in Cebu City for monitoring.

After yielding a positive result for the pancoronavirus assay, the oropharyngeal and serum specimens from the boy were sent to Australia for identification of the specific coronavirus strain.

Duque said the Bureau of Quarantine remains on alert and continues to work closely with airlines and airport authorities for stricter border surveillance.

The DOH activated its emergency response and continues to strengthen national-level preparedness, heighten community surveillance, enhance case management and hospital readiness, and intensify information dissemination and community engagement.

It also recommended all travelers with symptoms of fever and cough, and with a history of travel to Wuhan, China to immediately proceed to any hospital for prompt medical attention and management.

It assured the public that its health facilities are equipped and prepared to receive suspected cases of the 2019-nCoV and advised health workers to observe preventive measures and infection control protocols.

“Let us continue to be vigilant. Always practice hand hygiene, observe proper cough etiquette, avoid close contact with people manifesting flu-like symptoms, avoid contact with farm and wild animals, cook food properly, and adopt healthy lifestyles to mount immunity against infections,” Duque said.

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