DOTr orders vigilance in all ports to stop nCoV

Published January 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ariel Fernandez

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade urged vigilance in all ports of entry to stop the entry of the dreaded 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV).

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade gestures during the Senate inquiry on the August 16 Xiamen Air accident at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at Senate Building in Pasay city, August 29,2018. (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Please adopt all measures necessary and expedient to address the issue on coronavirus, considering world developments and the influx of passengers expected this Lunar New Year,” Secretary Tugade said in his directive to all heads of the agency’s four sectors, particularly the Aviation and Airports and Maritime.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco said that they are continuously coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Quarantine to support its efforts to secure airports from the coronavirus and in closely monitoring arriving passengers, especially at the Kalibo International Airport, which has direct flights from Wuhan, China.

Sydiongco added that Royal Air, one of the airlines that operate direct flights between Kalibo and Wuhan, has manifested its intention to suspend its Wuhan flights until the coronavirus is contained and managed.

CAAP has reactivated its communicable disease preparedness procedures on all CAAP-operated airports, especially in international gateways such as Puerto Princesa, General Santos, Zamboanga, Davao, Kalibo, Laoag, and Iloilo.

Airport personnel were also advised to exercise extreme vigilance in handling passenger arrivals to strictly monitor those who are possibly infected by the virus.

The posting of public advisories informing about coronavirus infections and the strict monitoring of suspected passengers are also being enforced.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said they are in full coordination with the Bureau of Quarantine in support of their safety protocols.

In the maritime sector, directives have been given to all ports operated by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to coordinate with the quarantine office and implement strict passenger screening in arrival areas, according to PPA General Manager Jay Santiago.

Santiago said stringent security measures are also in place especially in areas frequently visited by tourists such as Bohol and Caticlan in Aklan.

The Philippine Coast Guard has advised all medical units in its 13 Coast Guard Districts to be on high alert to prevent the possible spread of the nCoV.

Strict passenger screening and safety measures are also in place in the country’s land terminals and railway networks to prevent the entry and spread of the virus.

“As we implement preventive measures and stringent monitoring of passengers in our transportation hubs nationwide, we implore the public to cooperate with the authority and also be vigilant in their travels at all times,” Secretary Tugade said.