MANILA: The Philippines on Thursday asked more than 400 passengers who shared an airline flight with a man infected with the MERS virus to check in with the health department immediately.
The move was a precautionary measure to ensure none of them were infected by the man who has since been quarantined along with his family, a health official said.
Passengers on the Etihad Airways flight on April 15 were told to call health department emergency numbers listed in the media even while the department tries to track them down, said Lyndon Lee Suy, the spokesman for the department’s emergency service.
“We want to make sure that none of them would have gotten the virus. We don’t want to miss a single case,” he told AFP.
The 418 passengers will be asked if they have fever or flu-like symptoms that might be signs of the sometimes fatal MERS.
The spokesman could not immediately say how many of the passengers had already been contacted.
A Filipino who arrived on the flight from the United Arab Emirates has tested positive for the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus, the department announced on Wednesday.
Also on Thursday, Malaysia quarantined 64 people in a southern village after one of its residents become the country’s first person to die of a respiratory illness that is spreading from the Middle East, local media reported.
The first fatality in Muslim-majority Malaysia — a 54-year-old man — died in hospital in the southern state of Johor on Sunday.
He had developed a fever, cough and breathing difficulties since March 29.
Health authorities screened some 100 people from the man’s village, Kampung Bintang, in Johor on Thursday to check for more infections, The Star newspaper said, quoting Ayub Rahmat, a state lawmaker in charge of health.
Sixty-four of them will be quarantined for a week after showing possible symptoms.
“This is the first such case in Malaysia, and we take this matter seriously. That is why we are taking steps to screen the villagers to prevent the virus from spreading,” Ayub was quoting as saying.