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RDC chief urges calm over two nCoV PUI cases in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY --- Regional Development Council (RDC) Bicol chairman Noel Rosal has urged the public not to panic over the inclusion of Bicol region in the list of places in the country with persons under investigation (PUI) for Novel Corona Virus (nCoV) following the confirmation of Department of Health (DOH) on Monday, Feb. 10.

Rosal, who is also the mayor of Legazpi City, said that though there are two persons in the region who are classified as PUI by health authorities, the region remains free from nCoV.

“Don't panic. “Stay calm, this is not airborne and observe proper hygiene always. Wash your hands especially if you go outside,” Rosal said to allay fear of the public.

In the latest tracker of DOH issued on Feb. 10, it said that there are 261 persons nationwide who are classified as PUI, two of whom are in Bicol.

“The latest news and DOH central confirmation regarding the two persons under investigation (PUI) are already isolated at a hospital and according to authorities their situation is improving for the better,” Rosal said.

DOH Bicol did not identify the location of the hospital where the two PUI are confined.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, Ernie Vera, DOH regional director in Bicol reiterated to the public that there is no nCoV case in the region.

“We would like to reiterate to the public that based on the 2019-nCoV case tracker from DOH Central dated Feb. 7, 2020, 12 noon, there is no confirmed case of the 2019-nCoV ARD and no Persons Under Investigation (PUI) in Bicol region,” Vera said in a press briefing on Feb. 8 at the DOH regional office here.

Vera said in a joint press conference of DOH Bicol and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) that all information about the 2019-nCoV ARD including the confirmed cases and the PUI must only come from the Health department and the DOH secretary will be the first to announce the PUI and the confirmed nCoV cases.

He said that DOH Bicol have no reason to hide any information from the public but they have to follow the protocol to avoid misinformation.

“DOH recognizes the right of the public to correct information. We don’t hide any information. We don’t have any reason for that. The reason and purpose of centralized information is we don’t want to release any information that would create misinformation that’s why the Health department opted to have centralized data to avoid wrong interpretation,” Vera said.

Dr. Annalynda Bellen, BRTTH infectious disease specialist, said that the public must only refer to DOH or WHO on information regarding 2019-nCoV ARD.

“Facebook is one of the main sources of fake news, if we want correct information, go to DOH and WHO, don’t get information and rely on Facebook.” Bellen said.

Though, Bellen admitted that there are two persons who are isolated and under investigation at BRTTH. Their swab samples were taken and sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City for examination. The two persons have a travel history in the US and a layover in Shanghai, China. They are currently experiencing flu like symptoms, but their condition is improving to date.

“Their swab samples were taken and sent to RITM and we are waiting for 48 hours to get the result if it is negative or positive. Don’t panic, don’t listen to fake news, they are okay and improving,” she said.

Earlier, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council led by Claudio Yucot issued a blue alert status in the region to brace for the nCoV.

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