Monday, June 22, 2009

RP Football Team Quarantined in Singapore After One Team Member Tested H1N1 Positive

22 June 2009

The entire Philippine football team to the 1st Asian Youth Games has been quarantined in Singapore following findings that one of its members is infected with the H1N1 flu virus.  That infected team member, aged 14, is now in medical quarantine and is reportedly doing well at the Communicable Disease Center while the rest of the team has been given three bungalows at the Aloha Resort Hotel where they are totally isolated for nine days from the rest of the other nation's sports contingents. 

Harry Angping, Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, disclosed this development in a live interview with Raffy Tima at QTV's Balitanghali today.  The quarantine being imposed on the RP football team by the Singaporean medical authorities appear to be total as Angping himself said that he tried to visit the team at the resort hotel but was not allowed to do so.

Angping said he will be meeting  with tournament officials today including the Chairman of the Singapore Sports Council, Alex Chan, to request that the Philippine team be given consideration and allowed to play in the football tournament which is now in its elimination stage ahead of the Games' formal opening on June 29 (Monday).  

The bulk of  the RP delegation to the 1st Asian Youth Games will be leaving by Saturday and Sunday (June 27 and 28) for Singapore and Angping has requested the DOH to screen them closely so that those who might show symptoms of the H1N1 virus may no longer be allowed to join the delegation. These include teams in shooting, bowling, aquatics, beach volleyball and other sports.

More on this story in this Balitanghali report by Raffy Tima courtesy of GMANews.tv:

It is ironic that the same RP football team reportedly got their flu vaccine shots here in Manila before they proceeded to Singapore, with each flu shot costing P700. 

The lesson here, which the DOH should repeatedly stress as often as the need to wash our hands frequently while singing two rounds of "Happy Birthday" is that as of today, June 22, 2009, no flu vaccine exists that will guarantee protection against H1N1. 

The flu vaccine that was reportedly developed by Swish pharmaceuticals giant Novartis in its German facility a few days ago is still in the testing and evaluation stage and won't be ready for commercial use until a few months from now. 

In fact, you will recall that Secretary Duque himself has said on TV that the Philippine government has not yet placed any order for the purchase of any H1N1 vaccine.

The flu shots that were given to our RP booters are those for the regular seasonal flu virus — these are flu shots that we Filipinos have not grown accustomed to and these are flu shots which have not shielded a member of the RP team from getting infected with H1N1.    

This is my own guess: it might have been better if our team members took Tamiflu in prophylactic mode (one capsule a day for ten days) instead of getting the flu shots before they left for Singapore.  Whereas the flu shots are practically useless against H1N1, Tamiflu is the antiviral drug of choice, in the absence of an H1N1-specific vaccine, in the global battle against H1N1. 

Let's hope and pray that a miracle saves our RP football team from elimination in Singapore because of an H1N1 default.


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