By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has banned the entry of all nationalities, except Filipinos, traveling from China, including all those who went there before arriving in the Philippines as the government contains the spread of the 2019-novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).
According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the ban now covers the whole of China, including its Special Administrative Regions Hong Kong and Macau. It does not apply to Filipino citizens and Permanent Resident Visa holders.
“For clarity, the ban is on the person of any nationality except that of Filipinos particularly specified above, coming directly from the places above-mentioned and arriving in the Philippines, and not of any flight,” he said Sunday morning.
In a statement, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Duterte approved the guidelines recommended by the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to prevent the spread of the 2019-nCoV ARD
Duterte approved the temporary ban on the entry of any person, regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizens and holders of Permanent Resident Visa issued by the Philippine Government, directly coming from China and its Special Administrative Regions.
The ban likewise covers those who have been in the said places, except Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa holders, immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines within 14 days.
The Task Force was also given the authority, if necessary, to ban the entry of travelers from other areas with confirmed widespread 2019-nCOV ARD.
Filipinos are now also temporarily banned from traveling to China and its Special Administrative Regions.
President Duterte likewise approved the establishment of a repatriation and quarantine facility.
Meanwhile, heads of government departments and agencies, offices and instrumentalities, government-owned and -controlled corporations, state universities and colleges, and local government units were directed to adopt, coordinate, and implement the said guidelines and other guidelines the task force may issue on the matter.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and law enforcement agencies have been placed on standby and directed to give the necessary assistance to ensure the implementation of this directive to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
According to Panelo, the directives issued by the President, as well as the protocols being implemented including succeeding ones, were all geared for the safety of the public and will last until the danger of the disease has passed.
Meanwhile, Panelo renewed the Palace’s call to the public to strictly observe personal hygiene measures, including washing hands regularly and wearing surgical masks in crowded areas when one has coughs and colds or has a fever.
The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of the 2019-nCoV ARD in the country on Thursday. The patient, a 38-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, is being treated at the San Lazaro Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
The DOH announced on Sunday morning that a second confirmed case of the disease, a 44-year-old Chinese man also from Wuhan and admitted to San Lazaro Hospital, died of severe pneumonia on Saturday.