Palace declares influenza A/H1N1 contained

May 29, 2009 1:46 pm 

By Joel C. Atencio

MANILA, May 29 – Malacañang officials on Friday afternoon declared that the A/H1NI influenza in the country has been contained.

”We remain optimistic, especially in the economic aspect of the country. Classes in all school levels will surely begin on June. Everything is under control,” said Deputy Presidential Spokesmen for Economic Affairs Gary Olivar and Rolando Tungpalan in a news briefing at the New Executive Building.

Olivar and Tungpalan echoed an earlier statement by Dr. Anthony Golez, deputy presidential spokesperson, who called on the people not to resort to panic-buying of medicines amid the flu scare as the country has adequate stock of anti-viral drugs.

Golez said the Department of Health (DoH) has one million pieces of anti-viral drugs — a stockpile that can be easily augmented through new procurements.

Golez, who is also deputy administration of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), said the vigilance of the (DoH) in monitoring and tracing those afflicted by the A/H1N1) enabled the government to control the spread of the virus.

He said the DoH’s aggressive contact-tracing of the first victim, who came from the United States and those she came in contact with, made it possible for health authorities to properly contain the virus from spreading.

“Based on its experience with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) before, the DOH was able to adopt this contact-tracing procedure more systematically and more aggressively with this new flu virus which, thanks God, has not reached a pandemic or human-to-human transmission stage yet,” Golez said.

The best thing that people can do was observe proper personal hygiene — frequent and thorough hand-washing — and proper respiratory etiquette in sneezing and coughing, he said.

Golez said he witnessed first-hand how contact-tracing was being used by DoH with SARS cases. With its experience in reacting to SARS, including the quarantining of actual and possible carrier of the virus, had helped the health department contain the spread of influenza A/H1NI.

But he said the DOH and its workers nationwide would continuously work without rest in the next few weeks as the country raised the ramparts against the spread of the virus.

He reiterated that the supply of anti-viral drugs would not be a problem.

But he cautioned that when it comes to epidemics or pandemics, the government handles the drugs and dispenses it only to those who have been afflicted so as not to create artificial shortages of the needed medicines.

No need to panic because the A/H1N1 is contained, Golez said. (PNA)

RMA/JCA

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