Etihad yet to find the missing Passengers
415 passengers who arrived in the Philippines on the 15th of April from the United Arab Emirates aboard Etihad Flight Number EY0424 have alarmed the Department of Health (DOH). One of the passengers, a Filipino nurse was found positive with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS CoV) in the United Arab Emirates. He was eventually cleared after having been tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) upon his arrival.
According to Communications Secretary, Herminio Coloma, President Aquino called for a closed door meeting last Saturday to discuss the threat of the MERS CoV.
In the meeting that was also attended by the Secretary of Health and other cabinet members the illness, its risks and ways to track down and contact all the other passengers from Flight Number EY0424 were discussed. The President ordered that all the passengers have to undergo testing. The meeting lasted 5 hours from 2:45pm until 8pm.
In the meeting, President Aquino underscored the need to track down the passengers since they are all at risk of the disease for having been exposed to the Filipino nurse who is considered a ‘carrier.’
119 of the passengers were already contacted by the DOH. 40 were found negative out of the 72 who were already tested. The rest of the passengers are still awaiting results. In the Western Visayan region, 11 passengers from the same flight had undergone swab tests and are quarantined in a hospital while waiting for further results.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS CoV) is a deadly respiratory disease which was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. According to the World Health Organization, it has flu-like symptoms and can be prevented by general health hygiene. The MERS CoV is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which occurred 12 years ago in China. SARS however is less transmissible. In the Philippines, a family of an OFW from Maguindanao who had worked in Saudi Arabia claimed that their daughter died at the King Fahd hospital in Jeddah with the same disease.