DOTr wants strict monitoring of all ports amid coronavirus threat
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered a tight watch of all the country’s airports and seaports in the wake of a new coronavirus threat (nCov19) from Wuhan, China, that already left 17 people dead and over 500 infected.
In a statement Thursday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Secretary Arthur Tugade has directed people manning the entry points to be extra vigilant in monitoring arrivals of tourists.
“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,” Tugade said in a directive to heads of the agency’s four sectors, especially the Aviation, Airports, and Maritime.
“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,” he added.
Wuhan’s local government has already advised people not to travel to their area, with outbound flights and trains already canceled.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal have noted that they have been coordinating with the Department of Health and the Bureau of Quarantine to monitor passengers possibly affected by the coronavirus.
CAAP said that they have already reactivated the communicable disease preparedness procedures on all airports that it handles.
Sydiongco also relayed that Royal Air, one of the airlines that provide direct flights between Kalibo in Aklan to Wuhan, has suspended flights until the health issue has been controlled.
Earlier, Pan Pacific Airlines also told the operator of the Kalibo International Airport that it would also suspend flights to Wuhan.
“Airport personnel was also advised to exercise extreme vigilance in handling passenger arrivals to strictly monitor those who are possibly infected by the virus,” DOTr said.
“In addition, the posting of public advisories informing about coronavirus infections and the strict monitoring of suspected passengers are also being enforced,” they added.
The same scenario is being implemented within the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), with passengers being strictly screened at arrival areas especially in top tourist spots like Bohol and Caticlan in Aklan.
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