BMC braces for Novel Corona Virus

NAGA CITY --- News of the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak spread across the country and the world, prompted local health authorities here to prepare and be ready to ensure that impacts, if there are, will be minimized or if not totally controlled, chief of the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) said Monday, Feb. 3.

Dr. Francisco Sales, BMC chief, during the press conference held at the hospital’s conference room, assured the public that there is no need to panic as the situation is now being thoroughly handled by the government, specifically the Department of Health (DOH) and other agencies to ensure that safety nets and precautions are all in place.

Dr. Jose Manuel Rañola, BMC point person for Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases (EREID) said that the nCoV is similar to other viruses such as common cough and colds and just like other ailments, it also exhibits common symptoms like fever, sore throat and similar mild symptoms.

He also allayed fears that nCov is so deadly that it will knock a person immediately the moment he acquires the virus.

“nCoV is a new strain of corona virus that originated from Wuhan, China. As I’ve said, it exhibits mild symptoms. As compared to the mortality rate of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, which is at 35 percent, nCov, as per available data points out only a 2 percent mortality rate. This means that out of 100 patients, two are most likely to succumb to it,” Rañola said.

SARS, a viral respiratory illness, which emerged in February 2003, also caused a global health alert. In the record of World Health Organization (WHO), SARS affected 26 countries and resulted in more than 8000 cases in 2003.

Rañola also appealed to the public not to be agitated with the scarcity of surgical mask as not everyone needs to wear it.

“Only those who need to wear surgical mask should wear it. If you have respiratory symptoms like cough, colds, running nose, you should wear a mask. If you are providing care to the sick, or if you are in the forefront as medical or health care worker, by all means you should wear a mask. But if you are well and do not exhibit any respiratory problems, please spare the mask, especially for our doctors and nurses who are also risking their health,” the doctor said.

Before the press conference ended, Sales and the rest of the BMC medical personnel escorted media practitioners a tour of the facility, which would be used as isolation room in case there will be nCoV cases.


An EREID tent was also put up inside the BMC compound to separately check nCoV-suspected patients.


HOSPITAL beds for NCoV patients.