SARS KILLS PINAY DH IN HONG KONG

Manila, March 25, 2003 -- A Filipino domestic helper in Hong Kong yesterday
died of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), prompting the
government to warn travelers against unnecessary trips to Asian countries.

The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong said 39-year-old Adela Dalingay, a
native of Abra, passed away at 9:14 a.m. yesterday at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople requested the Department of Health and
Bureau of Immigration to work closely with the DFA in promoting public
awareness on SARS, commonly known as acute atypical pneumonia, among OFWs
and to come up with stricter quarantine measures for passengers coming from
China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam.

"I will meet with Health Secretary (Manuel) Dayrit, Labor Secretary
(Patricia) Sto. Tomas, and airport and immigration officials specifically
on this problem," he said.

President Arroyo said she was saddened by the report on the death of the
Filipino domestic helper in Hong Kong and expressed hope that a cure would
be found soon for other patients.

She also thanked the Hong Kong government for the assistance it is giving
on Filipinos afflicted with SARS.

Ople said he had also received reports of four additional Filipinos
afflicted with SARS in Singapore, bringing the total of OFWs with acute
atypical pneumonia in that country to nine Filipinos out of 31 confirmed
SARS cases. None of them are said to be in serious condition.

The DFA and its posts have been actively monitoring the health conditions
of SARS victims.

"Both Ambassador Ernesto Llamas in Singapore and Consul General Victoria
Bataclan in Hong Kong have assured me that they are able to talk to the
patients individually and convey to their families in the Philippines the
patients' medical condition," Ople said.

Llamas, in a report, said the four additional SARS cases are staff nurses
who are now being treated at the Communicable Disease Center of the Tan
Tock Seng Hospital.

Visitors to SARS patients are required to wear masks, gloves and gowns.

One of the patients said before she was admitted to the hospital, she
developed dry cough, fever, headache, experienced nausea and felt very weak.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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