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UP Diliman probes possible COVID-19 case, suspends work, bans official travel, opts for online classes

The University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD) has suspended work, banned official travel, canceled on-campus events, and moved toward holding online classes, amid a confirmation that a member of the UP community is being investigated for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo.

In a statement on Tuesday, Nemenzo said the person under investigation (PUI) was screened at the University Health Service (UHS) on Monday after developing a high fever and has since been transferred to another hospital for testing.

“We assure you that in handling the PUI, all protocols were strictly followed, the patient was completely isolated from the rest of the UHS patients, and that the holding area was immediately disinfected,” he added.

Nemenzo also said that the university administration has created a COVID-19 Task Force that will implement protocols and institutional mechanisms to combat the threat of the disease.

New school guidelines

The chancellor said the following guidelines must be observed in light of the COVID-19 scare:

  • Official travel will be prohibited indefinitely. Those who wish to go on personal travel must report their plans to their unit head. All UPD members returning from overseas travel will be required to undergo a two-week self-quarantine.
  • All big on-campus events are canceled until further notice.
  • Conventional classroom delivery will soon be substituted with online platforms.
  • Social distancing, proper hygiene and behavioral etiquette are still the most effective ways to contain the spread.

“These are not normal times. But I believe in our community’s resilience and ability to live through this crisis with compassion and solidarity,” Nemenzo said.

Recently, a COVID-19 test kit developed by the UP National Institutes of Health was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. 

The test kit is expected to yield results within two hours instead of the 24-hour running time of test kits sourced from Japan.

The UP-developed test kit is also six times cheaper than its foreign counterparts. — MDM, GMA News