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Gov’t looking into 3 OFWs in Saudi for MERS virus

Handout transmission electron micrograph shows the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus
The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). A healthcare worker who had traveled to Saudi Arabia was confirmed as the first U.S. case of MERS, an often fatal illness, raising new concerns about the rapid spread of such diseases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. REUTERS/National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Handout via Reuters

The government is checking into reports that three Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia recently contracted the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

“Our embassy in Riyadh is coordinating with relevant authorities to gather sufficient information on the new cases,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose said.

Jose said that if these cases are confirmed, the DFA stands ready to extend the necessary assistance and will convey the information and update to the Filipino workers’ next of kin.

“So we are still verifying,” he said.

A Filipina nurse, who returned to Manila from Saudi Arabia and was tested positive for MERS-CoV, has already recovered.

The DFA reiterated its advice to Filipinos in the Middle East, especially in countries with confirmed MERS-CoV cases, to take necessary precautions and heed local health authorities in their host countries.

The DFA Office of Migrant Workers Affairs is working with the Department of Health to share any developments on MERS-CoV as reported by Philippine diplomatic posts in the Middle East and other health organizations.

Filipino health care personnel in the Middle East are also encouraged to adhere to the recommended infection control measures and to volunteer to test for MERS-CoV before they return to the Philippines.

Those who develop symptoms are strongly advised to immediately seek medical attention, the DFA said.

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