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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)

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30 June 2009

A-H1N1 quarantine facility up in Subic

Stepping up its contingency plan against the A-H1N1 virus, which has been recently declared as a pandemic threat, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has established an A-H1N1 Quarantine Facility (AQF) at the old passenger terminal of the airport here.

SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said that with the growing cases of A-H1N1 in the country, Subic, which is a port of entry, has to be ready for any contingency.

“As one of the major tourism and investment destinations in the country, it is not impossible that an unsuspecting visitor may arrive in Subic by air, land or sea, before knowing that he or she has been infected by the virus,” Arreza said.

Putting up the AQF, Arreza added, was part of the SBMA’s contingency plan to help combat the spread of the disease, aside from stepping up the agency’s information campaign and prevention program.

Dr. Solomon Jacalne, manager of the SBMA Public Health and Safety Department (PHSD), meanwhile said that the AQF would be used primarily for members of the SBMA medical staff who were exposed to patients believed to have been infected by the A-H1N1 virus.

Jacalne said that personnel in the SBMA Dispensary are vulnerable to the virus since they attend to different patients — both foreigners and Filipinos — with various medical concerns.

The Subic AQF, Jacalne added, will also be used for the observation of Subic Bay Freeport workers and SBMA employees who opt to be quarantined in Subic.

On the other hand, Subic visitors, workers and residents who are found infected by the virus will be transferred to the Jose B. Lingad Medical Hospital in Pampanga, the only hospital in the region identified by the Department of Health (DoH) as capable of handling A-H1N1 cases.

Jacalne added that in cases where SBMA medical personnel accompanied some A-H1N1 patient to the said hospital, they would be quarantined at the AQF for 10 days instead of sending them home to avoid endangering their families and relatives.

SBMA officials who arrived from other countries may also opt for self-quarantine at the AQF, he said.

The quarantine facility, which is located at the old terminal of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) in Cubi Point, can comfortably accommodate eight to 12 patients at a time, and is complete with air conditioning system, comfort room, and a receiving lounge.

Last month, the SBMA hosted a public forum on A-H1N1 influenza at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center as a first step towards raising public awareness of the disease and preventing its spread.

Some 1,500 employees of the SBMA and various firms in Subic, as well as free port residents, attended the forum that was headed by a panel of experts from the DoH Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit and the SBMA-PHSD. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

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