8:33 pm | Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines — All Philippine missions overseas are now on alert for the coronavirus, a deadly respiratory disease known to have originated in the Middle East but has spread to parts of Europe.
No Filipino has so far been reported to have contracted the disease, but all Philippine embassies and consulates around the world are now closely watching developments relating to the virus, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.
“As you know, this has already spread to other countries, so all of our embassies and consulates around the world are closely monitoring developments in their respective jurisdictins and they regularly seek updates from their host governments,” said DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez in a briefing.
He also reiterated the government’s advice to Filipinos in Saudi Arabia, the country currently worst-affected by the virus, with 25 known deaths out of 39 reported cases. There are some 1.5 million Filipinos currently in Saudi Arabia as workers or residents.
“The personnel of our embassy and consulate in Saudi Arabia can effectively relay relevant information regarding the virus to our compatriots, and they have already done this,” said Hernandez.
“What we really need now is our citizens’ cooperation. Filipinos should heed the advice of our embassy and consulate and relevant authorities of the host country,” he added.
He said Filipinos in affected countries–now including France, Germany and Great Britain–should immediately consult a doctor if they manifest any symptoms of the disease.
“Our citizens in affected countries should immediately seek medical attention if they feel any of the disease’s symptoms. These symptoms, according to the World Health Organization, include fever, cough, shortness of breath and even diarrhea,” said Hernandez.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is known to belong to the same viral family as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed hundreds around the world when it spread in 2003.
The new virus is known to have killed a total 30 people out of 50 reported cases so far.
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