Gov't to produce hourly reminders on China virus outbreak

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 06 2020 11:38 AM

People line up to purchase face masks in Bambang, Manila on January 30, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- Philippine state-run media will release hourly reminders on preventive measures against the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak as the country works to contain its spread, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Wednesday.

The hourly reminders will be aired on government-owned broadcast media outlets People’s Television Network, Philippine Broadcasting Service, and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation.

Infographic materials and news updates will also be produced by state-run Philippine News Agency, Philippine Information Agency, and the Bureau of Communications Services, Andanar added.

Andanar said the reminders aim to counter unverified information on the virus, and allay public fears of the disease.

“Though they may be made with good intentions, these unverified information and recommended precautions can impede the genuine efforts of the government and health experts with regards to dealing with the potential spread of the virus. More importantly, it will cause unnecessary panic and overreaction among the masses,” he said.

“As the situation is that of a public health emergency, we are asking the public not to spread unverified and alarmist information about the virus,” he added.

A case of the new coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan City in the Chinese province of Hubei, was first confirmed in the Philippines last week, prompting the government to issue a temporary travel ban to China and its territories.

Manila is currently monitoring some 133 patients under investigation of carrying the virus. The DOH confirmed a third case of an infected person on Wednesday, while 1 fatality was reported over the weekend--the first outside of virus epicenter China.

A Filipino sailor in Japan meanwhile is the first known case of a local infected with the new coronavirus.