A Filipino nurse, who was working in Saudi Arabia, has tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) upon return to the Philippines, Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said in a press conference today.

Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona /DOH Facebook page
Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona /DOH Facebook page

The nurse arrived Friday on a Saudi Airlines flight with a companion. The companion tested negative for the novel coronavirus. “The (infected) nurse stayed with the other Filipina nurse in ( the northern Philippine province of) Bulacan until her scheduled flight to General Santos City on August 31,” said Ona in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“The two were working in the same hospital in Dammam and they were tested there. Yesterday, they were informed by their supervisor that one of them was positive (for MERS-CoV),” said Ona. The infected nurse is now in isolation at Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao del Sur.

The estimated 240 passengers aboard the same Saudi Airlines flight are currently being contacted by DOH to urge them to get tested.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona assured the public that the Philippines is still free from the MERS-CoV as there is only a slim possibility that large numbers will be infected with it.