Instead, the PPA said in a statement that it has laid down rules to restrict the movement of ships’ crew and passengers as precaution against spreading the disease.
STAR/File
PPA to let in ships from China
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will not ban the entry of ships originating from China or from any of its special administrative regions so as not to paralyze the country’s supply chain, as the novel coronavirus (nCoV) menace persists and threatens to get worse.

Instead, the PPA said in a statement that it has laid down rules to restrict the movement of ships’ crew and passengers as precaution against spreading the disease.

“We cannot afford to ban the entry of international ships to our shores in the midst of this nCoV scare, as doing so will surely paralyze our supply chain as most of our imports and exports go to the hub ports located in China and its special administrative regions,” PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago said.

“Instead, we are banning the disembarkation of the crew of any vessel which called in China or any of its SARs within the 14-day period prior to its arrival in any Philippine port,” he said, referring to China’s Special Administrative Regions.

Santiago said a majority of Philippine cargoes originate from hub ports located primarily in China and in its SARs like Hong Kong as Philippine ports are widely considered as feeder ports.

No visitors would be allowed to enter the ships within such period in order to minimize person-to-person interaction with the crew.

“We also noted that vessel operators also change crew at some point in the voyage of the vessel, and if such case happens in the Philippines, the crew who will be replaced shall undergo strict quarantine period and only be allowed to go home if cleared by the Department of Health,” Santiago said.

He stressed that ships docking in the Philippines more than 14 days after leaving port in China or its SARs shall be allowed to dock without restrictions.

“Shipping operators need not worry as long as you follow this condition and those listed in the guidelines of the Bureau of Quarantine relative to concerns with declaration of public health emergency with international concern, you can call at any Philippine port,” he said.

The Department of Transportation and its attached agencies have tightened their watch across the nation’s transportation hubs after the country recorded its first case of the nCoV last Thursday.

The World Health Organization has declared the nCoV outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY
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