ILIGAN CITY, Feb. 12 (PIA)--Without an international airport, the highest possible point of entry of the 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-NCoV) is through the foreign ships that make their way to Iligan, thus, the city government heightens precautionary measures in monitoring such entry.
During the Sangguniang Panglungsod Session, February 11, Dr. Andrew Marcella, quarantine officer, said, "Foreign ships cannot dock without being inspected by quarantine medical officer. After the inspection is done, the quarantine medical officer will give clearance to the master to prove that they have undergone quarantine inspection."
Since February 1, there are already five ships which arrived in Iligan City and they were thoroughly inspected by the medical officers stationed a mile away from the port. Based on the initial reports, the vessels were only on anchorage on their previous destinations.
"If we are so scared, the more these vessels are scared because they [crew] are contained in one area," Marcella said citing how one person, who may have been infected by the virus, can affect all of the crew members in a vessel.
Aside from the thorough inspection, the local government also requires ship agents to provide their crew list and the last 10 ports where their ship had traveled. Such list will include the physical condition of the crew whether or not they have been sick during the trip. If so, the medical team will conduct an individual physical examination.
For his part, Dr. Armando Isla, Iligan Medical Society incoming president, said they are reinforcing public information campaign to cover those who will be directly involved in handling persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs).
Such reporting is also targeted to improve the community's understanding and definition of PUI and PUM as well as the proper ways to prevent the introduction of 2019-NCoV.
To further aid the health workers' strategies to combat 2019-NCoV, Lamberto Macapagal, Jr., chair of the committee on health and sanitation of the Sangguniang Panglungsod, said they have already created a task force for surveillance and monitoring, information dissemination, and handling of quarantine and isolation. (RTP/PIA10)