No need to fear reports of respiratory illnesses in China: Philippine health chief


MANILA: Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa (pic) assured Filipinos on Wednesday (Nov 29) that there is no need to panic in light of reports of an increase in respiratory illnesses in Northern China.

He was referring to a World Health Organization report published on Nov 22 regarding the increased cases of respiratory diseases and clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia among Chinese children.

“It’s not a new virus; it’s the common diseases like mycoplasma, pneumonia, and flu. Besides it’s mostly children, so it’s also part of the seasonal endemic respiratory illness,” Herbosa told reporters on the sidelines of the Biyaheng Kalusugan: National Bike to Work Day press conference in Quezon City.

“So I want to tell the people to not be worried,” he added.

The health chief also attributed the rise in respiratory cases to China’s weather.

“We have to understand that this is common in temperate countries — influenza-like illnesses during the cold weather. We don’t have cold weather here, we are in a warm tropical country,” he said.

Herbosa noted that the DOH is doing its own monitoring of the situation.

Moreover, he advised the public to practice proper cough etiquette and to stay at home as much as possible to avoid contracting respiratory diseases.

He also assured the public that hospitals are ready if there is ever a surge in respiratory patients.

“Our hospitals are now ready after our experience with Covid-19, and of course, we’ll be able to feel as soon as there is a rise in cases going to our emergency department, so they are used to it and we can activate immediately the same way we activated during Covid-19,” he said.

In a statement released the same day, the DOH advised internet users against spreading misinformation about the health situation in China.

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa assured Filipinos on Wednesday that there is no need to panic in light of reports of an increase in respiratory illnesses in Northern China.

It also reminded the public to only rely on official announcements.

“The DOH reiterates that there is no need for alarm; the government prioritizes the safety of the Filipino people. We will remain vigilant and provide the necessary updates for the public’s information,” the statement read.

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