Following the Palace’s announcement of a travel ban for all individuals coming from the province of Hubei, China on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri joins the call urging for a wider temporary travel ban covering mainland China. This call comes on the heels of the World Health Organization’s declaration of the novel coronavirus outbreak as a global health emergency.
Singapore, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Italy, Israel, Australia, and the Caribbean countries of Dominica, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago have already banned arrivals from China in light of the international outbreak, with many others like the United States setting tightened quarantine measures. Zubiri is calling for the Philippines to follow suit, and set a China-wide travel ban until the outbreak is under control.
“We need to step up our quarantine measures and safeguard our people, and we can protect our people from the virus by putting a temporary restriction on entry for all those coming from China. There are confirmed cases all over China, we need to take that in mind. A temporary China-wide travel restriction is a necessary precautionary measure. We already have one confirmed case, after all. We cannot afford more,” Zubiri explained.
“I don’t believe that our friendship with China will suffer as they fully understand the need to control the spread of this deadly virus. As a goodwill gesture, we can offer to extend the visa of Chinese visitors who were already here before the crisis and who don’t want to go home to avoid catching the disease.”
The 2019 novel coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, but has since spread to every region in mainland China, including Tibet. China has reported eleven thousand confirmed cases, with two hundred and fifty-nine deaths. All fatalities as of yet have been in China, but the virus has reached at least twenty-five other countries. The Philippines reported its first confirmed case on Thursday.
“As soon as the threat is gone, we will gladly reopen our doors,” Zubiri said. “But until then, the safety of our people should be our priority. (senate.gov.ph)