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Editorial | SARS, MERS and now, nCov

The 2019-nCoV or the Wuhan coronavirus is feared to have spread across the globe and, unlike the SARS (Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 and the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2012, possible cases of infection are being tested in the country. Health Secretary Francisco Duque, in an interview with CNN Philippines yesterday, denied that the child from Wuhan who was reported to show symptoms of the infection tested negative. The sample was tested in Melbourne, Australia.
Duque said that with the virus scare infecting thousands in Wuhan and killing more than 50 people as of press time, people should refrain from spreading rumors without verifying the facts because this could only lead to unnecessary panic. He reiterated that no one in the country is confirmed to suffer from this strain of coronavirus and the health department is doing what it can to prevent it from spreading here.
A report from the Agence France Presse (see p. 7) said that “final findings are yet to be announced, but Chinese health officials believe it came from wildlife sold illegally at a market in the central city of Wuhan that offered enough animals to fill a zoo, including civets, rats, snakes, giant salamanders and live wolf pups.” This is similar to SARS which was said to have come from bats and civets.
In the meantime, what can we do to protect ourselves? The coronavirus, according to health experts, can spread through direct and indirect contact like any other virus such as influenza. The first line of defense, according to Duque, is to be conscious in proper hand washing. This is after all, a public health issue and everyone should take precaution at all times.

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