Four Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia were reported to have contracted the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV) and are now confined in a Riyadh hospital to receive the best possible health care.
“Our embassy in Riyadh was assured by the hospital management that the patients are being given the best possible care, and the hospital is equipped to deal with Mers-CoV cases,” said Foreign Affairs Department Spokesman Charles Jose in a media briefing.
Those infected were described as “three females and one male who is 55 years old.” The females are aged 29, 32 and 50, respectively.
Mers-CoV is a viral respiratory illness, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to South Korea. The virus’s source is unknown, although experts said it was likely to have originated from an animal.
At the moment, there is no vaccine against the disease.
Jose said two of the patients are in the intensive care unit, one in isolation and the last one was reported not showing the symptoms, but is under observation.
The 29-and 32-year-old patients, however, were found positive of the virus.
“The embassy is making sure that they get the proper treatment. And we reiterate our previous advisories for Filipinos in Saudi Arabia to take precaution, and follow the advisories of local authorities,” Jose said.
Filipino health workers in Saudi hospitals were also advised to follow preventive protocols, while those exhibiting symptoms were advised to report immediately to the nearest hospital for diagnosis and treatment.
“The infected patients usually take some time to recover. But eventually, they get well if given the right treatment,” Jose said.
He said he is unaware of the number of OFWs infected with Mers-Cov in the area since not all of those who were infected were reported.
“If you don’t check with health authorities, the information will not reach the Embassy’s knowledge,” he said.
Despite this, however, the DFA had no travel restrictions or advisories against going to Saudi Arabia.
There are about 1.5 million to possibly two million Filipino migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, the largest concentration of Filipinos in the Middle East.