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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Duterte orders temporary travel ban on travelers from China amid nCoV threat

Amid the current novel coronavirus (nCoV) President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a temporary travel ban on all travelers coming from mainland China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.

In an interview with Dobol B sa News TV, Senator Bong Go announced the president's order.

"Sa ngayon ay mag-i-implement na ng temporary travel ban on travelers coming from any part of China and its special administrative regions on top of the existing temporary travel ban imposed on those coming from Hubei province and other affected areas. Taking into consideration the concerns raised by key government officials and health experts, the President made a decision and has agreed to adopt this recommendation and implement it immediately as additional precautionary measure to protect the Filipinos," he said.

"Magkakaroon tayo ng temporary ban banning the entry of any person except Filipino citizens and holders of permanent resident visa issued by the Philippine government directly coming from China and its special administrative regions. Kung ibang bansa naman ang pinanggalingan mo pero nanggaling ka sa China within 14 days before arrival at hindi ka Pilipino o Philippine resident, hindi ka makakapasok sa Pilipinas," he further explained.

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In a press conference on Sunday, February 2, health officials confirmed the first nCoV death in the Philippines: a 44-year-old male who died on Saturday, February 1.  While the patient was stable and showed signs of improvement in his last few days, his condition deteriorated within his last 24 hours resulting to his demise.

It was disclosed that the country recorded two confirmed cases: a 38-year-old Chinese female and her companion, a 44-year-old Chinese male. Both patients are from Wuhan, China and arrived in the Philippines via Hong Kong last January 21. They were both admitted for isolation and supportive treatment at the San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

The DOH's Epidemiology Bureau (EB) is urrently conducting contact tracing of passengers aboard the flights of the two positive cases. EB has secured the manifestos of the flights and is in close coordination with the concerned airlines. Contact tracing activities are ongoing in Cebu and Dumaguete, and in other places where the patients stayed and traveled to.

“The Philippine Government has already implemented a temporary travel ban for travelers coming from China, Macao, and Hong Kong. DOH is monitoring every development on the 2019-nCoV very closely and is taking proactive measures to contain the spread of this virus in our country. This health event is fast-evolving and fluid. We are continuously recalibrating our plans and efforts as the situation develops,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“We are providing the public with constant updates and advisories as frequently as possible, so all I ask from the public now is to heed the advisories from official DOH channels and to refrain from sharing unverified and unvalidated information. I assure the public that we will keep you abreast of any information that we have,” he added.
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