Following the Department of Health’s announcement that the Philippines has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Senator Win Gatchalian underscored the need for schools to be more vigilant and ensure that protocols are in place to prevent students from getting infected.

Gatchalian also emphasized that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” which should prompt the Department of Education (DepEd) to work more closely with the Department of Health (DOH) in the implementation of safety guidelines.

“Intensified information dissemination is more critical in schools at this point.”

“Ngayong may kumpirmadong kaso na ng novel coronavirus sa Pilipinas, mahalagang paigtingin natin ang pangangalaga sa kaligtasan ng mga mag-aaral. Kung may mga mag-aaral tayong nakikitaan ng mga sintomas kaugnay ng virus o history ng pagkakaroon ng respiratory infections, mahalagang handa ang ating mga paaralan, local health officials, at mga magulang sa pag-responde upang maiwasan ang mabilis na pagkalat ng sakit,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Intensified information dissemination is also more critical in schools at this point, the veteran legislator added.

“Emphasize DOH reminders on proper hygiene and sanitation.”

According to the seasoned lawmaker, raising awareness on the disease and its prevention should be emphasized by the DOH’s reminders on proper hygiene and sanitation. These include frequent proper handwashing, cough etiquette, staying away from people with flu-like symptoms, and the thorough cooking of food.

The senator also maintained that Chinese schools who have not yet suspended classes, especially those with high numbers of students from mainland China, should announce suspensions immediately.

According to him, this would help contain the virus as most of the confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus are from China.

The country’s first case of the 2019-nCoV was that of a 38-year old Chinese woman who arrived in the Philippines from Wuhan City via Hong Kong on January 21. The patient was admitted in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila on January 25 after seeking treatment for a mild cough.

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