Palace: Philippines 'fully ready, capable' of combatting MERS

Health Secretary Janette Garin said the patient, who came from Dubai last month, had a short layover in Saudi Arabia, where MERS was first identified in April 2012. Photo: AFP

Despite a confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the country, Malacañang on Monday assured the public that the Philippines is "fully ready and capable of detecting, isolating, and treating" the disease.

Echoing Department of Health Secretary Janette Garin, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the condition of the 36-year-old foreigner who tested positive for MERS has been improving according to test results.

"According to Health Secretary Garin, the patient who tested positive remains in isolation while undergoing treatment at the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine)," Coloma said in a statement.

Garin said the patient, who came from Dubai last month, had a short layover in Saudi Arabia, where MERS was first identified in April 2012.

President Aquino has tasked the DOH to tighten surveillance and quarantine measures at ports of entry and to ensure the prompt reporting by all hospitals of patients who show symptoms of the disease for immediate isolation, treatment and contact tracing," Coloma added.

The DOH also said the public has no reason to panic, advising them to practice proper hygiene, get enough rest, and immediately go to nearby hospital if they develop symptoms of MERS.