Dagupan to organize infectious disease preparedness response task force (Philippines News Agency)

The city council here has passed an ordinance seeking to organize the city’s infectious disease preparedness response task force that will adopt the necessary measures to prevent the entry of viruses that can cause infectious diseases.
Councilor Jesus Canto, a doctor, said this will ensure that residents of Dagupan will be safe from infectious diseases originating from foreign shores.
The ordinance was proposed by Canto, chair of the committee on health of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), noting reports that a female nurse from Saudi Arabia was detected to have been afflicted by the dreaded Middle East Respiratory SyndromeCorona Virus (MERSCOV) and an OFW died of bird flu in China.
Canto said other infectious diseases that should put health authorities here and other parts of the country on alert are the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Ebola virus.
He said the task force to be headed by the City Health Officer shall prepare the necessary protocols to be disseminated to all the people on how to prevent them and their loved ones from being afflicted by infectious diseases originating from foreign countries.
“It is best that we have health protocols in place than having not one,” Canto said.
The councilor said that since Dagupan and Pangasinan have many citizens who are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and who may be carriers of MERSCOV, SARS, bird flu and Ebola, it is best that they do selfquarantine in their rooms for 14 to 21 days.
That is if they have not been obliged by the Department of Health (DOH) to undergo forced quarantine in Manila yet, he said.
The barangay officials can help much in enforcing selfquarantine among returning OFWs since they know the OFWs in their communities because this is in the first place for the safety of their constituents, Canto said.
He added that selfquarantine is necessary because returning OFWs are sometimes not telling the truth.
They often hide the fact that they came from the Middle East or Africa if they have changed plane somewhere in Hongkong or Bangkok.
Canto, former director of Region 1 Medical Center, said an OFW can hide having fever in the fever scan installed at the arrival area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by simply taking paracetamol. (PNA)