Nov 252014

MANILA, Philippines–The last four Filipino peacekeepers from Ebola-stricken Liberia arrived in Manila on Friday via commercial flight and were immediately brought to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center (AFPMC) in Quezon City for the mandatory 21-day quarantine instead of Caballo Island where the rest of their colleagues are.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the decision to let the four undergo quarantine at the AFPMC was based on Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.

Cabunoc said the group was previously declared “no risk” personnel and cleared to travel after passing the Ebola screening test in Liberia.

Meanwhile, another peacekeeper who had arrived earlier and was being held under quarantine on Caballo Island was also brought to the AFPMC after complaining of chest pains.

In a press briefing, DOH spokesman Lyndon Lee Suy said the peacekeeper was diagnosed with hypertension but still underwent testing for Ebola as part of precautionary measures.

“It is highly improbable that he is afflicted with Ebola but we still took a blood sample and had him tested for Ebola as a safety measure,” Lee Suy told reporters on Tuesday.

He said the peacekeeper complained of dizziness and nausea while playing basketball with the other soldiers on the island.

Experts from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine went to the hospital to draw blood samples from the soldier. Results of the test are expected in 48 hours.

Lee Suy said the soldier will remain in the hospital for the rest of the quarantine period of his group on Caballo, which will end on Monday.

The four new arrivals, who had stayed behind in Monrovia to pack the equipment of the peacekeepers, were part of the 18th Philippine Contingent to Liberia (PCL).

The rest of the group, 133 of them–108 from the Philippine Air Force, 24 from the Philippine National Police and one from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology–were placed under quarantine on Caballo until Dec. 3.

Cabanoc said a peacekeeper who was brought from Caballo to the RITM last week with fever turned out to have malaria. He rejoined the group on the island last Friday after recovering from the disease.

The bulk of the Filipino peacekeepers returned from Liberia via a United Nations-chartered Russian flight two weeks ago. Upon touchdown at Villamor Air Base, they were taken by ship to Caballo Island at the mouth of Manila Bay. They were earlier cleared of Ebola when they left Liberia.

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