In accordance with the directive by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has formed a task force to monitor and address possible cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

According to Belmonte, the task force is composed of the QC Health Department (QCHD), Public Affairs and Information Services Department (PAISD), Barangay and Community Relations Department (BCRD) and the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD), among others.

The three local hospitals — Quezon City Medical Center, Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital and the Novaliches District Hospital — are also included in the task force.

“Mabuti nang handa kaysa bigla na lang tayong mabulaga ng mga kaso ng coronavirus sa ating siyudad,” said Belmonte.

“Sisikapin ng iba-ibang departamento na mapigil ang pagpasok ng nCoV sa ating siyudad, ngunit handa rin silang umaksiyon laban dito kung kinakailangan,” she added.

At the same time, Belmonte vehemently denied online reports claiming about the presence of nCoV cases in Quezon City.

“We have to call these circulating online reports as fake news. As of now, no one in Quezon City has been tested positive for novel coronavirus,” said Belmonte.

Belmonte, however, confirmed that a Filipino couple, who had a travel history to China as part of their work as seafarers, went to Diliman Doctors Hospital (DDH) due to back pain.

Upon interview, it was learned that the couple had a travel history to China so the Quezon City Health Department, DDH and the Department of Health (DOH) decided to bring them to the San Lazaro Hospital for an extensive check-up.

“The city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office assisted in the transfer with its staff wearing full protective suit,” Belmonte said.

The couple did not want to ride the ambulance so they used their personal car and was escorted by various health officials en route to San Lazaro Hospital, according to QC DRRMO head Mike Marasigan.

Finding no clear symptoms of 2019-nCoV, doctors from San Lazaro Hospital advised the couple to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days. The QCHD regularly monitors the couple’s situation, according to Belmonte.

“Quezon City remains free from novel coronavirus,” Belmonte pointed out. The Mayor also advised local residents to follow the DOH’s advice on how to prevent the spread of nCoV.

This includes frequent and proper handwashing, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, washing hands after sneezing or coughing, using alcohol or sanitizer, ensuring that food is well-cooked and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to mount up immunity.

Meanwhile, Dr. Esperanza Arias, head of the QC Health Department, has oriented medical doctors about the 2019-nCoV and activated fever lanes in various health facilities to immediately address 2019-nCoV concerns.

“We have coordinated with DRRMO regarding the transport of patients under investigation (PUIs) and will include coronavirus in our pre-clinic lectures and in their information drive on polio,” said Dr. Arias.