THE Department of Health said Friday it does not see any possibility of imposing travel restrictions to countries where Zika virus cases have been reported and it is not planning to start monitoring arriving passengers to check if they are sick or infected with the virus.
“We have no travel restrictions,” said DoH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy in an interview with reporters.
Lee Suy explained that it is not feasible to implement the same kind of measures that the DoH utilized during the threats of emerging infec(EVD) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus.
He said the DoH does not want to create a wrong impression that may cause confusion which they are trying to avoid.
He said the DoH recognizes the need to be alert, but the public must be made aware that acquiring or transmitting the Zika virus is very different from EVD and MERSCoV and other infectious diseases.
Lee Suy stressed that the transmission of infectious diseases such as EVD and MERSCoV is through people-to-people contact while Zika virus can be transmitted by bites of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
The DoH spokesperson added that what should be given much attention is the “potential source/s” of Zika virus which is also present in the country—the Aedes mosquito which should be stopped from growing in numbers.
Aedes mosquitoes are also the same mosquitoes that can cause dengue hemorrhagic fever.
The Health official said that what should be strengthened at this point in time is the people’s participation in cleanliness activities that will help stop the breeding or growing of the number of aedes mosquitoes that can possibly transmit and become carriers of the Zika virus.
He reiterated that the best preparation still is boosting of awareness on cleanliness and ensuring that stagnant water is properly covered so that the mosquitoes will not be able to lay their eggs there.
He also said that helping in destroying the breeding sites can help a lot in reducing the risk of the threat of Zika virus, dengue and even chikungunya infections.
He also said that there is a need for people to know and realize that they need to help in bringing down the population of mosquitoes which have the tendency to bite when they are “hungry for blood” and do not select the next target or victim to bite — man, woman, old and young, pregnant woman or not, etc.
For pregnant women, he reminded that while the DOH is not imposing any travel restrictions, it is best for them to consider the welfare of the baby in their wombs and wisely decide on their own to definitely avoid going to places where Zika virus are reported to be spreading.
The Health spokesperson said that in case traveling or going to destinations where Zika virus cases are reported is unavoidable, pregnant women taking the risk should ensure that they have adequate protection from the bites of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus. He said that wearing long pants and long sleeves are good options.