MANILA (Mabuhay) – No personal protective gear was needed for the personnel who welcomed the 133 Filipino United Nations peacekeepers who returned from Liberia Wednesday, Department of Health’s OIC Janette Garin assured Thursday.
Garin said the full-body protective gear is needed only for handling those who have symptoms of the Ebola virus disease.
“’Pag sasalubong ka sa isang tao na walang sintomas ng Ebola, hindi kailangan magsuot ng personal protective gear. Sinusuot mo lang ito ‘pag ikaw ay nagha-handle ng pasyente na may sintomas,” she said.
“Uulitin po namin, ang Ebola ay nakahahawa at nakakamatay pero hindi siya nakakahawa kung wala pang sintomas ang pasyente,” she added.
Last Sunday, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs head Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the Filipino peacekeepers passed an Ebola screening tests in Liberia.
Cabunoc later said 30 more passed the screening.
On the other hand, the driver of the bus that took the peacekeepers to Cavite wore a protective suit.
Military personnel who handled the baggage of the peacekeepers wore masks and gloves that were to be disposed after use.
The military also said the vehicles used by the peacekeepers would be sanitized.
Meanwhile, Garin contested claims by militant health workers that the personal protective equipment was not safe.
Health workers who held a picket Wednesday had claimed the protective suit may have been thin enough to allow liquids to pass through – a potential danger to the wearer.
Alliance of Health Workers president Joseel Ebesate said the protective gear that Health Secretary on leave Enrique Ona demonstrated in a press conference last October was different from the one used in a training.
During Wednesday’s picket, participants also showed how liquids could penetrate the protective suit.
But Garin voiced doubts the protective suit in Wednesday’s demo was the same one procured by the government.
“Ang hazmat suit sobrang mainit. Kung (sa) rally ka tapos suot mo, ang hirap sa sobrang init,” she said.
“Naka-preposition sa iilang hospital and ilang regional center, gagamitin lang kung kinakailangan. Kasi buwis ang bumili noon, hindi pwede basta-basta ipapamigay,” she added. (MNS)