MANILA, Philippines — Even as there’s no clear evidence yet that COVID-19 reinfection is possible, the Department of Health (DOH) has been instructing discharged coronavirus patients to continue their self-isolation for another 14 days inside their homes.
In a virtual press briefing Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that monitoring recovered COVID-19 patients was among DOH’s protocols in handling the public health problem.
“Sila po ay pinapuwi na may instruction na kailangan mag self-quarantine pa rin sila o mag-isolate for 14 days. Ito po ay para makasiguro tayo na hindi na babalik or hindi kaya hindi sila makakapanghawa kung sakaling totoong may reinfection,” Vergeire explained.
“Katulad nga ho ng sabi natin, wala pang malawak na ebidensya na makakapgsabi kung talagang may reinfection o wala. Kaya tayo ay nagsisiguro na dapat lahat ng recovered patients magse-self-isolate pa rin ng another 14 days kapag sila ay nakapag-discharge na sa ospital,’ she added.
To date, 31 of the 803 COVID-19 patients in the country were able to recover while 54 have died.
So far, DOH was able to test 2,287 individuals for the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which is thought to have first jumped from an animal host to humans in Wuhan City, Hubei province in China in December 2019. SARS-CoV-2 causes the highly-infectious respiratory disease, COVID-19.
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic since it already infected more than 532,700 people worldwide and killed more than 24,050 as of March 27. On the other hand, over 124,375 people have recovered so far from the disease.
Most COVID-19 positive people experience mild symptoms such as fever and cough. But older adults and people with existing health problems may experience more serious symptoms that could even lead to pneumonia.
To prevent infection, authorities are urging people to practice regular hand washing, cover the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with those who show respiratory symptoms.