Benguet braces for nCoV as 1st PUI recorded

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet— The provincial government here is calling on its residents to be calm and abide by health guidelines as it records its first-person under investigation (PUI) for possible 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Governor Melchor Diclas on Wednesday advised residents that the best way not to contract the disease is to stay physically healthy and always follow the coughing or sneezing etiquette and proper handwashing.
He said a resident, together with a companion visited Hong Kong, is now showing signs of influenza-like symptoms.
The person has been under hospital quarantine while being provided with medical assistance, Diclas said.
Specimen samples from the person have been taken and brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for testing for the presence of the 2019-nCoV virus.
Diclas said Benguet towns have a cold climate which makes people more susceptible to illnesses.
“Make yourselves warm even when going to the farm to tend to your vegetable plants,” he said.
Diclas also activated the local nCoV interagency task force and called for an emergency meeting with different agencies, including village officials for instructions and plans.
“The village officials would know who went where and their condition and it is important that the residents immediately report if there are travels and are showing signs of the illness,” he said.
Dr. Nora Ruiz, a provincial health officer, said aside from a PUI, three others are being monitored for possible nCoV infection.
Meanwhile, Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, an officer in charge of the Department of Health in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR) in a press briefing on Thursday said the public can follow acronym P.O.W.E.R, which stands for Practice cough and sneezing etiquette; Obtain information from verified sources; Wash hands frequently; Eat nutritious food, and Refrain from going to crowded places.
Suspension of tourism activities
The town of Atok, which is currently getting a high number of tourists for its flower gardens, has suspended tourism activities effective Feb. 6.
Mayor Raymundo Sarac has issued an executive order as a preventive measure for the possible spread of the nCoV and other viruses.
Atok town, a high elevation town where frosting of plants happens is known as the producer of top quality flowers that are brought to places in the country.
Several farms have converted as eco-agri-tourism destinations providing a different experience with fresh colorful flowers.
Aside from the creation of the provincial nCoV inter-agency task force, towns have also formed the local counterparts.
Atok, Kibungan, capital town La Trinidad and others have respectively issued executive orders creating the task forces.
“This is to assure that we know what we are doing if a case is recorded,” Sarac said.
Residents have become weary due to report that there are five cases of nCoV in the province, which officials disputed and asked the public to stop spreading false information./Liza Agoot (PNA)