Go says Duterte has agreed on temporary ban on travelers from Hubei
Immigration personnel, especially those who interview passengers, have been instructed to wear face masks and to use hand sanitizer
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Go says Duterte has agreed on temporary ban on travelers from Hubei

(Philstar.com) - January 31, 2020 - 8:04am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go says President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to a temporary ban on travelers coming from Hubei province in China, where the Novel Coronavirus outbreak began.

Neither the Palace nor the Department of Health have made similar statements, although Go is often de facto Duterte spokesperson.

"Sang-ayon po si Pangulo na iimplementa ang temporary travel ban sa mga manggagaling mula Wuhan City and the entire Hubei province ng China," Go said.

(The president agrees on the implementation of a temporary travel ban on those coming from Wuhan City and the entire Hubei province of China)

He said he suggested the temporary ban when he talked to the president.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Brigido Dulay had announced prior to Go's message to media early Friday morning that "pursuant to the [Inter-Agency Task Force] on [2019-nCoV] resolution, DFA has temporarily suspended the issuance of Philippine visas to travelers from Hubei Province, China, effectively immediately."

The Bureau of Immigrations earlier in the week also suspended its Visa Upon Arrival facility "for Chinese nationals to slow down the influx of group tours." The privilege, afforded to Chinese travelers since 2017, is commonly used by tour groups, the BI said on Tuesday.

"The president and concerned government officials are also studying the possibility of imposing temporary travel restrictions for those coming from other places affected by the infection," Go said.

First nCoV case in the Philippines

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a press conference on Thursday, confirmed the first case of the Novel Coronavirus in the Philippines—a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan who arrived in the Philippines on January 21.  

He said the would "strongly recommend" a temporary restriction on travelers "from the entire Hubei province of China," after initially balking at banning arrivals from China.

"We will be waiting for the assessment of the WHO and recommendation whether to add to the list some more to the places that have a higher burden of the nCoV," he also said.

Go said Friday that President Duterte has scheduled a meeting with medical experts and key government officials next week "to discuss all necessary measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus." 

"Rest assured that the Duterte administration takes this threat seriously. I am appealing to the public to cooperate with authorities in order to ensure the safety of everyone," he also said. 

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