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50 bank staff told to observe self-quarantine

Posted on: June 8, 2009

50 bank staff told to observe self-quarantine

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:40:00 06/05/2009

Filed Under: Swine Flu

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE 4) About 50 employees of a bank in the financial district of Makati were asked to “observe home quarantine” after a foreign consultant showed “flu-like signs,” an official told INQUIRER.net Friday.

But Edmond Bernardo, Branch Banking Group head of the United Coconut Planters Bank, said the decision to “sanitize” the remittance section of the UCPB building, located along Makati Avenue, was just a precautionary measure.

“UCPB has no confirmed case but are taking necessary precautions after a Malaysian consultant who just returned from vacation in Malaysia exhibited flu-like signs,” Bernardo said.

“After the La Salle incident, the bank management says they want to be sure and sent the consultant home yesterday, while the 50, asked to observe home quarantine, will just stay until office hours Friday,” he said.

The Department of Health (DoH) on Friday confirmed a third case of Influenza A(H1N1) infection at the De La Salle University in Manila, where over 1,000 faculty and students were placed under home quarantine to stop the spread of the disease.

Franco Loyola, head of benefits for UCPB’s human resources group, said it was the Malaysian male consultant who was sent to a hospital on Thursday and ordered to stay home pending results of an exam for the Influenza A (H1N1).

“We asked employees on the third floor to go home because our consultant held office there. But the rest of us are still here,” he said.

Loyola said less than 30 employees, who may have come into contact with the consultant, were affected by the order but they will be asked to return to work on Monday if the consultant is cleared during the weekend.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said no AH1N1 infection has been confirmed in the UCPB building even as the National Epidemiology Center said business establishments “must have their own contingency plans.”

“We don’t impose quarantine on cases under observation or suspected cases in business offices. Work settings should have their own plans, unlike in schools with similar settings that have students and faculty who have contacts on a daily basis,” said NECD Director Dr. Eric Tayag.

“Offices must have their own contingency plans based on the risk assessment of the situation,” Tayag said.

“Once the DoH have confirmed a case, that is the time we coordinate with the concerned officials and advise them to follow guidelines such as observation of a 10-day quarantine of the confirmed case and his contacts, starting from the date the case was confirmed,” said Duque.

Aside from the new case at DLSU, the DoH confirmed three more A(H1N1) cases, all of whom came from the United States, bringing to 33 the total number of A(H1N1) cases in the country.

Classes at DLSU were suspended for 10 days earlier this week after a female Japanese exchange student was confirmed infected with the potentially deadly flu virus. With a report from Allison W. Lopez, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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