'We need a temporary China-wide travel ban now'

MANILA, Philippines – Several senators urged Malacañang Palace to impose travel restrictions to and from China as news of the first confirmed case of the 2019 novel coronavirus in the Philippines broke out on Thursday, January 30.
'We need a temporary China-wide travel ban now'

"I urge the government to immediately impose a travel ban on all individuals traveling from China, and all travelers who have passed through China in the past two weeks," Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.

READ: DOH confirms first novel coronavirus case in the Philippines

Hontiveros' proposal is TEMPORARY travel ban of at least 30 days. This must firmly include both air and sea travel to prevent a local outbreak. This includes a temporary ban on all cruise ships from docking at any of our ports.

"I also urge the Bureau of Quarantine to implement mandatory quarantine to all those who have just arrived from China, to remain vigilant and to study the safety measures of our neighboring countries with confirmed cases of nCoV," Hontiveros added.

Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva said the government must prioritize the safety and security of our people over other considerations.

"We call on our fellow kababayans here in the Philippines to follow safety precautions and avoid crowded places for now," Villanueva added.

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan also repeatedly called on the government to impose a travel ban to visitors from where the disease has started and already spread.

As of 28 January 2020, even Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan and have since expanded the travel ban to 16 surrounding cities with a combined population of more than 50 million people.

And aside from China, Malaysia has suspended the issuance of visas for Chinese citizens from Wuhan and the areas around Hubei province to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV).

The US State Department, for its part, has issued a travel advisory to "reconsider travel to China due to novel coronavirus," while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued warnings Level 3 (avoid all nonessential travel to China) and Level 4 (do not travel to Hubei province, China).

"Kailangan nating pangalagaan ang mga kapwa Pilipino. Hindi biro ang sakit na ito. At hindi rin biro ang magkasakit sa Pilipinas," Pangilinan said.

On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not keen on banning flights to and from areas in China affected by the novel coronavirus epidemic. “Not yet at this time. As a matter of fact, there is no known transmission from human to human na galing China,” Duterte said.

— The Summit Express

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