Palace to Pinoys in Wuhan: Cooperate with local execs
Panelo said there is no plan to repatriate Filipinos in the Chinese city, at least for now. He said it may be hard to convince Filipinos to leave because they cannot just abandon their work and livelihood. Leandicho

Palace to Pinoys in Wuhan: Cooperate with local execs

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday advised the remaining Filipinos in Wuhan to cooperate with local authorities who are working to contain the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

Wuhan is a city in China’s central Hubei province where the virus originated.

“They should comply with the precautions advised by local authorities so they won’t get sick. At the same time, they should do what an individual is supposed to do in an area where a disease is spreading,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a radio interview.

Panelo said there is no plan to repatriate Filipinos in the Chinese city, at least for now. He said it may be hard to convince Filipinos to leave because they cannot just abandon their work and livelihood.

“If they feel that they are safe, you cannot ask them to leave because their sources of livelihood are in that area. Besides, authorities in places where they are working  are doing something to prevent the spread (of the virus),” he said.

Panelo reiterated that the health department is working to prevent the entry of the virus in the Philippines.

“Definitely we will be undertaking measures to prevent the spread, as well as to secure the health and safety of our country,” the Palace spokesman said.

“Every time there is a spread of any disease in any country, that creates apprehension and concern. But each government of any country that is subjected to that undertake measures that will keep the citizens from harm’s way,” he added.

According to a GMA News report, two Filipinos were able to leave Wuhan before local officials of the city implemented a lockdown.

The Philippine government, meanwhile, has asked more than 600 Chinese tourists who had entered the country from Wuhan to return home as a precautionary measure.

The Philippine embassy in Beijing previously said there are only four registered Filipinos in Wuhan.

Neophyte Rep. Niña Taduran reminded people to avoid local and foreign travel if necessary.

 “We have recovered from SARS and MERS CoV. In fact, we had the lowest number of SARS victims when this epidemic hit the world. We already have a system laid out for this. Strict compliance on these is all that’s needed,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino, referring to the Severe Acute Respiratory Sundrome and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.   

 The administration congresswoman from party-list ACT-CIS at the same time warned manufacturers and sellers of face masks against “overcharging and hoarding” as the need for this protection rises.

 Taduran also called on all ports of entry to actively inspect passengers especially those coming from other countries.

Airport protocol

The Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) have directed all foreign and local carriers with international routes to conduct aircraft disinsection (the elimination of mosquitoes and similarly harmful insects) and disinfection in a bid to prevent the spread of unknown viruses and deadly diseases.

 BoQ and MIAA general manager Ed Monreal obliged all aircraft operators, handlers, airlines and airport authorities to conduct the disinsection and disinfection before landing or takeoff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

 The BoQ said if airlines fail to comply with the directive, the bureau will do the spraying, and a fee will be charged to the airline operators.

Monreal said that hand sanitizers were installed at the immigration counters, customs area, toilets and at the arrival lobby of the four terminals which can be used by incoming passengers and airport employees to help prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV.

At the Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) in Lal-lo, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) spokesperson Charlotte Collado said the airport has a human quarantine area, equipped with thermal scanners to detect fever which manifests symptoms of 2019-nCoV contamination.

She, however, said CEZA’s coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) regarding the isolation and treatment of those found infected is yet to be finalized.

The CNIA is under the supervision of CEZA and not under the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that has already established protocols with the DOH when it comes to the disposition of detected individuals at the airport.

Royal Air from Macau, China has two flights to Lal-lo  weekly  carrying mostly Chinese gamblers to casinos at the CEZA complex in the nearby municipality of Sta. Ana.

Tacloban clear

Contrary to recent news circulating in social media, there is no positive case of 2019-nCoV in Tacloban City, the DOH-Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development confirmed on Friday, during a press media briefing.

DOH-EV regional director Minerva Molon admitted to local reporters that last Jan. 17, a 36-year- old male who earlier travelled to Wuhan, China arrived in Tacloban with flu-like symptoms. This might have caused the public stir but she said there is no confirmation that the peson has 2019-nCoV.

The person, whose identity is kept under wraps, is only under investigation and that the DOH-EV has been closely monitoring the case, Molon declared.

Molon explained that protocol and the World Health Organization’s guidelines are being followed in disclosing such cases and protecting the confidentiality of the patient, but she confirmed that the case at hand is not positive for 2019-nCoV. – With Delon Porcalla, Rudy Santos, Raymund Catindig, Miriam Desacada

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