On Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they would wait for the World Health Organization’s new risk assessment before imposing a total ban on tourists coming from China.
Duque said that the travel restriction as of now is only for travelers coming from Hubei.
“I strongly recommended that a temporary restriction of travelers going to Manila from Hubei province, China within the possibility that as soon as we get the risk assessment by the WHO that many other provinces are in fact reporting, increasing numbers of novel coronavirus infection, we will include them in the travel restrictions,” Duque said.
On ANC’s Headstart, Duque said the proposal has already been accepted by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Risk of Travel Ban
Duque said earlier that prohibiting entry of tourists from mainland China could have consequences, as it is not the only country with confirmed 2019-nCoV cases.
He said China might critique why the country isn’t doing the same for all the nations with confirmed nCoV cases.
Wuhan City in Hubei, China is the epicenter for the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Since earlier this month, the Chinese town has been on lockdown to contain the virus.
1st confirmed nCoV case in the Philippines
The Philippines reported the first confirmed case after a Wuhan female traveler tested positive for the virus. On Jan. 21, the 38-year-old woman arrived in Manila via Hong Kong, seeking medical check-up on Jan. 25th.
It was said that the infected person had a travel history in Cebu and Dumaguete.
Health reform advocate Dr. Anthony Leachon earlier said the total travel ban is important in preventing the widespread of the virus.
Leachon emphasized that one infected patient can cause problems as the virus has a multiplier effect up to 14.
Duque said it might be possible for more Chinese provinces to be included in the travel bans, but noted that other countries have already reported nCoV cases.
Are we going to create an island for each country inward and close everything? What are we going to do with the countries that have already confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus?” said Duque.
He said he would rather defer to what the experts say on the matter.
“We might as well count ourselves with those countries. Meron na rin tayo. We’ll see what the experts tell us,” he said.
Several lawmakers have also called on the government to impose a travel ban from and to China.
Cebu imposes precautionary measures amid nCoV scare
In Cebu, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said it would place travelers from China on a 14-day quarantine.
According to the World Health Organization, novel coronavirus signs include nausea, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.