Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) chief legal officer Wyrlou Samodio told The STAR that 178 tourists will be flown back to Wuhan by Pan Pacific Air today.
AFP/Leo Ramirez
All Wuhan tourists in Kalibo to be sent back
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — All travelers from Wuhan, China who arrived in the Philippines on different flights amid the threat of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) will be out of the country by Monday.

Last Thursday, the Philippines shut itself from all flights from Wuhan, China, where the potentially fatal disease originated.

Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) chief legal officer Wyrlou Samodio told The STAR that 178 tourists will be flown back to Wuhan by Pan Pacific Air today.

Under the CAB decision, today’s flight will be for the sole purpose of ferrying the airline’s charter passengers back to Wuhan.

Samodio said another 135 tourists from Wuhan would be flown out via Royal Air Charter Services on Monday.

He said they are the last set of passengers who arrived in Kalibo, Aklan to be returned to the Chinese City.

These tourists will have their vacation cut short. They have been notified by Royal Air of their return to Wuhan on Jan. 27, instead of their original return of Jan. 30, he said.

The CAB issued a statement saying: “No passengers shall be carried from its return flight from Wuhan to the Philippines and, provided further, that both airlines (Royal Air and Pan Pacific) shall exercise extraordinary vigilance in ensuring the health and safety of passengers and crews.”

As an additional precautionary measure, the CAB ordered all airlines operating in the country to monitor events that will take place in other cities which may be affected by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Wuhan is the center of the outbreak and the probability of transmission to our country is made highly possible because of the direct flights between Wuhan and Kalibo,” CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said.

The CAB said two Philippine carriers operating regular charter services between Wuhan and Kalibo have been stopped.

Arcilla said Scoot Airlines from Singapore and China Airlines of Taiwan have also suspended their regular flights to Wuhan.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said that everything must be done so as not to compromise public safety.

“When it comes to public safety, it is always better to be overly protective than to fall short on measures and eventually regret it. We have to address it quickly and we have to do it right,” he said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), as the operator of most airports in the country, is working in coordination with the Department of Health and Bureau of Quarantine to support its efforts in securing airports from coronavirus and in closely monitoring arriving passengers from China especially in Kalibo International Airport, which has direct flights from Wuhan and other cities in China. – With Rudy Santos

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