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Offline berto

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Avoid beso-beso, crowds in Mexico, Pinoys told
« on: April 28, 2009, 02:38:32 AM »

(Updated 5:07 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is finalizing an advisory warning more than 320 Filipinos in Mexico against shaking hands, kissing (beso-beso), and traveling using the subway as the deadly swine flu continues to spread there.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ed Malaya told reporters on Monday that the DFA is still drafting the advisory that will be posted soon in the Philippine Embassy in Mexico.

Malaya said the advisory would warn overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to avoid intimate social interactions in Mexico, which is hardest hit by the swine flu outbreak.

"All Filipinos traveling to Mexico are advised to avoid large crowds, avoid shaking hands, kissing people as a greeting, [and] avoid using the subway," Malaya said.

"Those with health concerns are advised to stay at home or call their physicians to avoid possible exposure. The Department of Health will distribute a health alert notice to all arriving travelers from the US and Mexico," Malaya added.

Travelers will also be required to fill out a health declaration at all ports of entry in the Philippines to screen from potential exposure from the virus.

There are 309 OFWs and 21 permanent residents in Mexico as of last year. No Filipino in Mexico has yet been affected by the swine flu outbreak, the DFA added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr said they are not yet quick to issue a travel ban to Mexico until the Philippine post there could give a thorough assessment of the situation.

Conejos advises Filipinos in Mexico to report to their local health authorities and inform the embassy should they fall ill to the killer virus.

Malacañang however, warned Filipinos against going to countries where there is an outbreak of the swine flu virus.

"We are encouraging our countrymen, if it's not urgent, to avoid going to countries such as Mexico to avoid the disease or the virus," deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said.

But Fajardo was quick to clarify that there is no travel ban to Mexico, the US, Canada, and other countries affected by the swine flu.

Cover nose, wash hands, avoid close contact

While saying that there is no reason for Filipinos to panic, Fajardo said the government is taking all the precautionary measures just in case the flu reaches Philippine shores.

Fajardo explained that the health department issued recommendations to the public such as covering the nose and mouth when coughing, washing hands regularly with soap and water, avoiding close contact with sick people, and staying at home in case one is sick as measures to avoid the spread of the disease.

The official added that the Department of Agriculture, with the help of the Immigration bureau, vowed to monitor the ports of entry for the virus in the country. [See: Immigration bureau stands guard vs possible swine flu carrier]

Thermal scanners are also being used in six international airports in the Philippines to ensure that the country would be closely monitoring against the entry of those infected by the virus.

"We are ready for any eventuality. We learned from the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak. So all the lessons we have learned in the past will definitely be applied during this time," she added. - with Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV

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Avoid beso-beso, crowds in Mexico, Pinoys told
« on: April 28, 2009, 02:38:32 AM »
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