Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has reiterated the warning-advisory of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration against the MERS-CoV, enjoining overseas Filipino workers yesterday to observe utmost precaution to prevent contracting the deadly virus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus infection, and spreading the same.
Baldoz reiteration followed after another reported incident of four OFWs in Saudi Arabia who have exhibited symptoms associated with MERS-CoV.
“Observing health protocols must already be a way of life for our OFWs. Pandemics can surface in any part of the world, and so I enjoin our OFWs to take care and be always mindful of their health and well-being,” Baldoz said.
POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, upon instruction of Secretary Baldoz, has issued Advisory No. 2, Series of 2015, reiterating the preventive measures issued last year to ensure the protection of overseas Filipino workers against MERS-CoV.
“Let us diligently follow the POEA advisory. I urge OFWs, especially those in the Middle East countries, to observe the safety and protection measures,” Baldoz said.
The POEA Advisory reiterates the following health and sanitary guidelines to prevent being infected with MERS-CoV:
1. Practice proper hand hygiene always, by washing your hands with soap or hand rubs with alcohol before and after eating; before and after handling, cooking and preparing food; after coughing, sneezing and using the toilets; and before and before and after touching animals.
2. Practice proper cough etiquette by covering your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing. Use a facial tissue when coughing or sneezing and cover your mouth and nose with it. Dispose the tissue in a waste basket.
3. Avoid contact with farm and domesticated animals, including camels.
4. Avoid contact with sick or infected with MERS-CoV. If you have respiratory illness, stay home and wear a surgical mask to protect your family members.
5. If you are a health worker, strictly follow infection control protocols in your work.
6. Visit your doctor, a hospital or health facility immediately if symptoms of MERS-CoV manifest itself, including, persistent coughing, and other symptoms.
7. If you were in close contact with a confirmed MERS-CoV patient, comply with local health regulations and postpone any trip abroad until after test results are negative.
8. Practice healthy habits such as regular exercise, balanced and nutritional diet, and adequate sleep of at least eight (8) hours, as it would help strengthen the body’s immunity.
9. Do not panic and believe rumors regarding MERS-CoV. Make sure information comes from relevant government authority.
10. OFWs returning from a country affected by MERS-CoV must monitor their health for at least fourteen (14) days. If they develop signs and symptoms (fever, headache, sore throat, body weakness, cough, difficulty of breathing, unexplained bruising or bleeding, severe diarrhea), they must cover your mouth and nose with a piece of cloth, handkerchief, or surgical mask to prevent spread of infection.
11. For appropriate assistance, please call the following numbers:
Bureau of Quarantine:
Tel. No. (632) 320-9101
Tel. Nos. +63 922-884-1564
National Epidemiology Center (NEC)
Department of Health (DOH)
Tel. No. (632) 743-1937
The POEA is also requiring licensed recruitment agencies deploying health care workers to the Middle East to conduct special briefings on precautionary measures against MERS-COV and monitor the status of the deployed workers in their respective workplaces. Administrator Cacdac has also instructed the recruitment agencies to report to the Office of the Deputy Administrator for Welfare and Employment of the POEA any MERS-CoV case involving their workers.