‘Slow response’: Concerns on a viral video featuring a foreigner who collapsed in Manila

February 4, 2020 - 8:20 AM
Foreigner in Manila's sidewalk
Picture of a foreigner who collapsed in a sidewalk along Taft Avenue corner Remedios Street. (Photo from Manila PIO via Facebook)

Filipinos were alarmed at the nonresponsiveness of several authorities about a viral post featuring a supposed foreigner who collapsed on a sidewalk in Manila.

The Manila Public Information Office debunked online claims concerning the post and said that it was a “drunk Korean national” rather than a “Chinese national” who collapsed on a street along Taft Avenue corner Remedios Street.

According to Ermita Police Station Commander Police Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caramoan, the supposed Korean personally appeared at the station and told them he was “surprised” to be tagged as someone who might have the 2019 novel coronavirus.

“(The Korean national) disclosed that in the uploaded video, he was asleep due to drunkenness,” the Ermita Police Station said.

Reports note that the foreigner was “left untended for over an hour.”

He eventually “staggered” on his own and then left the place.

What about the authorities? 

Prior to Manila PIO’s post, a concerned Filipino found the foreigner laying on the sidewalk and supposedly having seizures.

“Nanginginig po siya na nakabaluktot. So ako, bilang isang siyempre sa medical din po tayo nagtatrabaho, ang tingin ko na doon pagka kasi ganoon, ‘matic meron po siyang fever,” Zaldy Maguigad, a medical practitioner, said to GMA News Online.

He said that he and other concerned citizens cordoned off the area surrounding the foreigner.

Maguigad also claimed that the foreigner appeared to be a “Chinese national,” although he didn’t mention anything about the man being supposedly infected with nCoV.

The foreigner’s appearance, as well as his position now insufficiently associated with victims of the virus, led other online Filipinos to falsely conclude that he has nCoV.

Maguigad shared that he called the numbers of the Philippine Red Cross, Ospital ng Maynila, San Lazaro Hospital, the 143 emergency hotline and the police but to no avail.

“Sa mga rescuer, maging maayos nawa ang ating pagtugon sa ganong uri ng sitwasyon at huwag mag-DAHILANAN,” he wrote on social media.

Maguigad said that they gave him different reasons for not responding to the emergency. The caller on 143 said that the victim needed to be accompanied.

Red Cross, meanwhile, claimed that they do not have any available ambulance at that time.

“Ang isyu sa post ko ay ukol sa hindi pagresponde ng kinauukulang medical service sa ating bansa. Huwag nawa mangyari sa inyo o ni isa man lang sa mga mahal ninyo sa buhay. Na kahit ni isang walang tutulong sa inyo sa inyong pagkahandusay at nilalampasan lang kayo,” Maguigad said.

His sentiments were echoed by social media users who were equally disturbed by the nonresponsiveness of most of the authorities concerned.

“The issue here is the slow response of Manila authorities,” a Filipino said.

“I’m glad it’s nothing close to nCoV but the fact remains that a person collapsed on the street, yet despite attempts of contacting the authorities and hospitals, none arrived to actually check, considering that we’re in high alert due to the virus outbreak,” a Twitter user said.

“Quick response ang gusto namin i-point out. Buti nalang at lasing lang, e pano kung emergency talaga?! ‘Yan ang isipin niyo,” said another user.

The incident happened amid the nCoV outbreak in the country, a virus that originated from Wuhan, China.

Videos of people supposedly collapsing on the streets due to the virus have made the rounds online but the World Health Organization said that fainting is “atypical” in the case of nCoV.

Reuters observed that the new strain of coronavirus has spurred “a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe.”

“The coronavirus outbreak has stoked a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe, from shops barring entry to Chinese tourists, online vitriol mocking the country’s exotic meat trade and surprise health checks on foreign workers,” it said.

“Authorities and schools in Toronto, Canada, were moved to warn against discrimination towards Chinese Canadians, while in Europe there was anecdotal evidence of Chinese residents facing prejudice in the street, and hostile newspaper headlines,” the report continued.