No need to close PH borders amid monkeypox threat, says Herbosa

A health expert, on Saturday, May 21, said that there is no need to close the country’s borders despite the looming threat of monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a viral disease coming from animals. Its symptoms include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, which may lead to a range of medical complications.

The Department of Health (DOH) said that the monkeypox virus is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person, animal, or contaminated material.

(Image courtesy of World Health Organization)

Despite the looming threat that the monkeypox virus brings, National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 special adviser Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa said that it is unnecessary to close the country’s borders, adding that monkeypox is unlike Covid-19.

“Alam naman natin na hindi naman siya ganon [katulad ng] Covid-19 na nakakahawa at hindi siya bagong sakit. Alam na natin kung paano gamutin [at] kung paano ang hawaan nito. Hindi siya mystery illness kagaya noong magsimula ang Covid-19 na napilitan tayong magsara ng borders (We know that it is not like the Covid-19 which is contagious and it is not a new disease. We already know how to treat it, as well as how it transmits. It is not a mystery illness like when Covid-19 began that we were forced to close our borders),” said Herbosa in the “Laging Handa” public briefing.

The expert then reiterated that closing the country’s borders possesses a huge effect to the Philippine tourism, economy, as well as supply and chain of goods and services.

“Hindi sapat o hindi tama na dapat mag close down. Magbabantay tayo at maghahanda tayo, pareho lang naman – ‘yung minimum public health measures: prevent, detect, isolate, and treat. Hindi kami magre-recommend. Ako, as an adviser, I will not recommend na mag close ng borders just because may reported [na] 85 cases ng monkeypox (It is not enough or not right to close down. We will watch and we will prepare, just the same minimum public health measures: prevent, detect, isolate, and treat. I, as an adviser, will not recommend closing borders just because there are reported 85 monkeypox cases),” Herbosa furthered.

Meanwhile, the expert urged the public to continuously observe minimum public health standards such as, but not limited to, properly wearing of masks, observing physical distancing, as well as practicing personal hygiene.

“Para sa kaalaman ng lahat, marami pa rin tayong infectious diseases na nandito. Hindi tayo dapat matakot dahil biglang may report ang World Health Organization (WHO) sa ibang bansa. Ang importante ay aware tayo about sanitation, cleanliness, and hygiene – mas less ang chance makakuha ng infectious disease (For everyone’s knowledge, we still have many infectious diseases here. We should not be afraid because the WHO suddenly has a report in another country. The important thing is that we are aware of sanitation, cleanliness, and hygiene – with that, there will be less chance of getting an infectious disease),” he added.

The DOH, on Friday, May 20, said the monkeypox has not been detected in the Philippines or at its borders.

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