By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Joel Villanueva has called on the government and concerned sectors to comply with the travel ban imposed on travelers from China amid the threats of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
“We need all hands on deck. We have a serious health crisis. We expect the cooperation of everyone to implement the ban,” Villanueva said on Thursday.
The senator issued the call after a report, quoting local officials, said tourists from mainland China have arrived in Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan, last Tuesday, two days after President Duterte ordered the prohibition on the entry of all travelers from China.
Eusebio Monserate Jr., acting chief of Civil Aviation Authority of Philippines at Kalibo Airport, denied the report.
Monserate maintained that flights to and from mainland China, as well as those from Hong Kong and Macau, have ceased since the travel ban directive was issued on Sunday.
“Allowing tourists from China, particularly Wuhan, to arrive in Boracay is irresponsible. It exposes workers, other tourists, and residents at risk. It strains our limited resources, particularly our capacity to respond to public health emergency,” Villanueva said.
“We need everyone to cooperate so we can prevent the spread of the disease and limit the exposure of the public. Let’s follow the ban,” he appealed.
Malay officials are monitoring at least 300 Chinese tourists who are still in Boracay.