The Philippine Government Braces For A Swine Flu Pandemic

Manila – the government is in heightened alert for a possible swine flu outbreak in the country. Dr. Eric Tayag, the Health Department’s chief epidemiologist, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that “We’re now in emergency mode.” The source of swine flu, or A(H1N1) virus, was Mexico City. An infected Mexican national who stayed in Metropark Hotel in Hong Kong was already quarantined, but the virus is already confirmed to be already in Asia. Those who show flu symptoms, especially those coming from abroad, will be investigated and the status will be announced immediately to avert panic, says Tayag. As of press time, the 50 Filipino Congressmen plus their entourage who watched the now-historic Pacquiao-Hatton fight in Las Vegas are set to arrive in the next couple of days. It is too early to determine if airport officials will place infection inspectors at the VIP lanes of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. There are now 25 deaths and nearly 900 reported cases of swine flu in 18 countries, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization, which also declared that a pandemic is imminent. In a related development, Health Secretary Francisco Duque will be heading the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) to consolidate all contingency measures on a nation-wide scale. The NDCC post is a concurrent position of the Secretary of National Defense, but it was Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who made the suggestion for Duque’s temporary appointment. When the problem is over, he will take over again.