DOH seeks to reassure people about Corona Virus
“Up to this point, in our region, there is no reported case in the South Pacific, nor in Japan, China, Australia or New Zealand and as you refer to the name of the virus, the reason why the virus is named Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) is because it's concentrated in that part of the world…. the middle east,” said Department of Health’s Medical Director Dr. Joseph Tufa during a press conference called by the DOH Wednesday morning.
DOH Director, Motusa Tuileama Nua told the media the press conference was called after an article was published in Samoa News Monday edition about the Corona Virus. He further noted the purpose of the press conference is to explain to the media “the whole thing, to make sure the people are not getting nervous. I want to reassure the people that things are happening within DOH in the way of the Medical director, department of nursing and in collaboration with LBJ.”
The DOH Medical Director took issue with the article published on Monday noting that as Samoa News claimed that a DOH official was contacted for a comment, “yet you never did”. Dr Tufa said, DOH does not just give out any information without listening to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We don’t give any information out without listening to our intelligence sources of information which include CDC and WHO — because they have people who research the problems and give us the facts about diseases… so we don’t jump any gun as far as releasing information that we do not have any complete knowledge about.
“If CDC says this is what you should be doing as far as protecting and getting information out to the public then we do that.” Dr Tufa further stated that some of the media was given the wrong information, referring to the article which said DOH had not heard of the Corona Virus.
“Some of the news media was getting the wrong information from the wrong people and giving false alarms and false information. That’s not a good thing to do, if you media people would like to get information from us please come see us, face to face and we will give you the information, but don’t just blame us saying we were trying to get a hold you… which you never did,” said Dr Tufa.
As reported earlier, efforts in obtaining comments from DOH Associate Director of Nursing Dottie Siavi'i were also unsuccessful. Siavi’i referred queries to Public Health Medical Director Dr. Joseph Tufa who, despite numerous attempts by Samoa News, could not be reached by phone as well. Samoa News stands by its story that efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.
Dr .Tufa then said to the media, “Let’s make friends and get the right information to the people so that they don’t worry.”
The doctor during the press conference made a power point presentation, about the Coronavirus or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). He said the disease was first seen in Saudi Arabia last year April.
“The transmission of the virus — there’s substantial evidence that it can be transmitted from person to person, with variables unknown in the actual mode of transmission and the experts are working on finding out.”
He explained that Corona viruses may also spread by touching contaminated objects or surfaces then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Dr Tufa further explained that symptoms of the disease may include runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever, headache, chest pain, some present with diarrhea and respiratory discomfort or distress.
“Up to this point— in our region— there is no reported case in the South Pacific, also Japan, China, Australia or New Zealand” said Dr Tufa.
“As of now there are 55 confirmed cases in the whole world and 30 deaths.” He also noted that CDC and WHO have not issued restrictions on traveling. They are advising people to be cautious when in the Middle East and before doing anything, apply the simple precautions— wash your hands well, and don’t put your hands on your mouth, eyes and nose.
Samoa News would also like to point out that it reported in its Monday story that currently there is a local delegation of soccer officials led by FFAS president Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet visiting that area of the world enroute to the 63rd FIFA Congress 2013 that was held on May 30 and 31 in Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000km off the southeast coast of Africa.
LATEST WHO UPDATE
A 14-year-old Saudi girl is the latest confirmed case of the sometimes deadly MERS-CoV virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday.
To date, the WHO has been informed of 54 cases, including 30 deaths.
The Saudi health ministry told the agency that the girl became ill on May 29. She is in stable condition.
Health officials do not yet know much about how the newly discovered virus spreads, which makes it hard for scientists to prevent infections. The WHO is calling for the world to pull together its resources to study and tackle the virus.