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Monday, May 20, 2024

DOH wary of ‘COVID-like’ China infections

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The Department of Health said the bacterial infection causing a surge in respiratory illness in China seemingly manifests like COVID-19.

Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag said the bacterial infection mycoplasma pneumoniae is quite contagious.

He said a person infected may already transmit the infection to another upon close contact even before the symptoms begin to appear.

“It has the label of ‘walking pneumonia’ because you feel alright—except for COVID, it can easily progress to something that’s terrible,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

He said the bacterial infection has already been recorded in thePhilippines, but it is not a regular pathogen that physicians would usually request for from laboratory tests.

“If they suspect it, they already give the antibiotics suited for it,” Tayag added.

The DOH has explained that if one is infected, the “common sense” thing to do is to isolate.

“That’s when patients who are infected with this bacteria will complain of a cough that has been with them for even four or more weeks,” Tayag said.

He said mycoplasma pneumoniae is also notorious for reinfection.

Earlier, Health chief Teodoro Herbosa addressed public concern regarding the spike in the illness in China, saying it is not a new virus but is related to the cold season in the Asian country.

The World Health Organization has not recommended specific measures for travelers and border control over the respiratory illness surge.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday suspended the issuance of e-visa to Chinese nationals.

The move came after the Department of Justice discovered irregularities in the issuance of e-visas for Chinese nationals and recommended the turnover of the responsibility from the DFA to a third-party service provider instead.

“This is to inform the public that the operations of the Philippine e-visa system in China is temporarily suspended until further notice,” the DFA said in its advisory.

Chinese nationals applying for Philippine visa are instead advised to contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate in their area by visiting the directory at to submit their applications and for other inquiries.


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