Three Filipinos in Hong Kong quarantined; Filipinos in UK, Ireland advised to take precautions

HONG KONG (May 6) — Three Filipino guests at the Metropark Hotel in Wanchai were covered to seven-day quarantine operations imposed by Hong Kong health authorities, reports the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Department of Health imposed, as a temporary emergency measure, a seven-day quarantine on its reported first case of H1N1 human swine flu at Metropark Hotel on May 1. The H1N1 patient is a Mexican male who checked in at the hotel but later brought to the Ruttonjee Hospital after experiencing coughs, sore throat and other flu-like symptoms. The quarantine will last until Friday, May 8.

Among those covered were a Filipina, her Australian husband and their son, and another Filipina from Cebu. They are all temporary visitors in Hong Kong. There are no Filipinos working at the hotel as staff members.

Consulate officials were able to communicate with the Filipinos and concerned Hong Kong authorities and were informed that the Filipinos were in good health.

The Hong Kong government will cover hotel and airline tickets/rebooking charges for all individuals who were the subject of the quarantine.

To date, the Hong Kong government has not reported any additional H1N1 case.

In a meeting with the Filipino community members at the Consulate on 03 May, officials reiterated their call for Filipinos in Hong Kong to take precautionary measures against the H1N1 virus.

Meanwhile, Filipinos in the UK and Ireland were likewise advised to take precautionary measures in light of reported cases of A/H1N1 in these countries.

As of May 3, the World Health Organization has reported 15 cases of A/H1N1 in the United Kingdom and one in Ireland.

There are 200,000 Filipinos in the United Kingdom and 12,000 in Ireland.

The Philippine Embassy also instructed the Philippine Honorary Consulates under its jurisdiction to closely monitor suspected and confirmed swine flu cases and to report cases involving Filipino nationals.

The Philippine Nurses Association of UK, the largest organization of Filipino nurses in the United Kingdom, helped distribute the Embassy’s advisory and other UK Government reminders on the A/H1N1 outbreak.

Filipino healthcare workers were specifically asked to take extra precautions. “The Embassy noted that the nurses and caregivers are among the most vulnerable to possible infection as they are exposed to the virus and their resistance levels may not be strong because of long work hours. They need to take care of themselves as they take care of others,” Ambassador Edgardo B. Espiritu said.

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