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Day 3 post Patient 1: Quarantine officials heighten medical surveillance on foreign ships


BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The health department’s quarantine bureau has heightened its alert on foreign vessels docking here as the country faces its first 2019 nCov case.

Physician Sebastian Tabuga, quarantine medical officer, told DNX two cargo ships with Chinese crewmembers have docked at the international port here late last month but none of the crew on the two ships were found to be sick.

One of the ship came from Panjang, Indonesia and had 18 crewmembers, 13 of which were Chinese from Hongkong.


The other ship had around 15 crewmembers, several of whom were also Chinese.

Both vessels were carrying cement.

Tabuga pointed out to DNX a heightened disease surveillance means they would be asking for maritime declarations of health from captains of ships as soon as these enter Philippine waters.

A declaration contains data about the ports a ship has docked in and information about the health of its crew, including suspected infections.

From this document, officials can determine the travel time of a ship to the port here, and if it is within the 14-day quarantine period.


Various official sources have estimated the 2019 Novel Coronavirus incubation period to be between two to 14 days.

Incubation refers to the time a person is exposed to the virus until symptoms develop.

Tabuga added they have also boarded the ships that docked here and have confirmed that none of the crewmembers showed flu-like symptoms.

Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.


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