'Travel with me': Duterte urges Filipinos to visit local destinations amid COVID-19 scare
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - February 14, 2020 - 4:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte called on Filipinos to patronize domestic travel to counter the negative effects of the spread of coronavirus disease to the local tourism industry. 

“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you travel with me around the Philippines,” Duterte said in a taped message Friday.

He added: “Come with me and be my travel companion. I’ll be traveling around the Philippines. Let’s go around the Philippines. Let’s prioritize our own.”

The chief executive issued the message after the government banned foreign nationals coming from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This led to canceled flights, and hotel and tour bookings across the country.

The Department of Tourism reported the local tourism industry is expected to lose an estimated P42.9 billion from February to April due to the SARS-like virus.

Chinese—hit hardest by COVID-19—are the second biggest group of foreign visitors next to Korean tourists.

Duterte assured the public that everything is “safe in the Philippines — “be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility.”

“There are many beautiful places in the Philippines. You don’t have to worry about a thing,” he said.

The president added that tourism and aviation stakeholders have agreed to lower airfare and hotel rates “so that we can be a viable market for the Philippines.”

Duterte on Thursday urged Filipinos to “remain calm and vigilant” and take precautionary measures amid the ongoing outbreak.

The coronavirus disease that emerged in China at the end of 2019 has infected more than 46,000 and killed more than 1,300. There are two reported deaths outside mainland China: one in the Philippines and the other in Hong Kong.

The Health department said there are 230 patients under investigation currently admitted in hospitals.

 

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS RODRIGO DUTERTE TOURISM SECTOR
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LATEST UPDATE: February 17, 2020 - 6:57pm

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February 17, 2020 - 6:57pm

Organizers cancel Tokyo marathon for 38,000 amateur runners over virus — AFP

February 17, 2020 - 5:10pm

An additional 99 people have tested positive for coronavirus on a cruise ship off the Japan coast, Japanese media said Monday, citing new figures from the health ministry.

That would take the total number of positive cases on the Diamond Princess to 454. The health ministry declined to confirm the reports immediately. — AFP

February 17, 2020 - 5:02pm

More than a dozen infected Americans from a coronavirus-riddled cruise ship off Japan flew on evacuation flights to the US with other passengers on Monday, as the epidemic claimed more lives in China to take the death toll above 1,700.

The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 70,500 people in its epicentre of China and sparked panic buying, economic jitters and the cancellation of high-profile sporting and cultural events.

With fresh cases emerging daily in Japan, the government has advised citizens to avoid mass gatherings, and on Monday cancelled celebrations for the Emperor's birthday — an annual jamboree that sees thousands of well-wishers descend on central Tokyo.— AFP

February 17, 2020 - 12:48pm

The Department of Health in a briefing says 453 patients under investigation have since tested negative for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

It also says that 221 of the 280 contacts??—people who may have come into contact with?—the first confirmed COVID-19 cases have completed the 14-day quarantine period.

February 17, 2020 - 9:10am

Sixteen more Filipinos onboard Japanese cruise ship Diamond Princess tested positive for COVID-19 as of February 15. This brings the total number of infected Filipinos to 27.

The Japanese Health Ministry is set to tes all crew and passengers aboard the ship Monday so that results will be available by the end of the quarantine period.

"The Embassy is in close coordination with the relevant Philippine and Japanese government agencies, and representatives of the World Health Organization and Princess Cruises to ensure that the needs of the Filipino crew and passengers are met and to facilitate their return to the Philippines," the DFA said.

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