SARS ON OUR DOORSTEP - GOLEZ

Makati City, April 24, 2003 -- National Security adviser Roilo Golez warned today that the killer pneumonia was "already on our doorstep" and that it was "worse than any terrorist threat."

A 1.5 billion-peso allotment for the government's SARS crisis team would be used to provide medical supplies and equipment capable of weeding out possible carriers of the deadly virus like infrared sensors "down to the barangay (village) level", Golez told reporters after a speech before the Philippine Ambassadors Association in Makati City.

Golez said fighting the killer pneumonia should also include tracking all suspected SARS cases so that their contacts would be quarantined immediately. He echoed calls made by lawmakers for the mandatory quarantine of suspected SARS carriers.

The Department of Health (DoH), he said, would intensify its information campaign so that people would cooperate with quarantine officials.

On Thursday, Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Malacaņang was drafting an executive order that would penalize those who would refuse health checks.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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