Duterte admin slow in addressing Wuhan coronavirus spread — Leachon
MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) independent director Dr. Anthony Leachon on Friday said the Duterte administration’s response in containing the threat of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV has been “slow.”
Leachon said that the temporary travel ban should not be limited to only those from China’s Hubei province but in the entire mainland China until the situation normalizes.
“Well, I would say so. Mabagal din ang World Health Organization (WHO is also slow). Paumanhin po pero epidemic po ang pinag-uusapan dito (I am sorry but we are talking about an epidemic here)” he said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer when asked if he thinks the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte was slow in addressing the outbreak, which WHO now declared as a global emergency.
“I think politics should not stand in the way of science and medicine. It was a clear-cut case. We have to isolate ourselves from the epidemic,” he added. “Dapat we take the road na medyo courageous ang leadership natin (of making our leadership more courageous) in the interest of public safety.”
Leachon explained that there will be more “chilling effects” to the Philippine economy if an epidemic happens here, after health officials earlier confirmed the country’s first case of the novel coronavirus infection.
He warned that “one positive case can lead to an epidemic,” noting that the country also has a weak healthcare system to contain the virus.
In suggesting that the travel ban be reviewed for a larger scope, Leachon explained that it was possible that the Chinese nationals who traveled from Hubei—where Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter, is located—may not be exiting from the province but from other areas in China.
“It’s just like para kang nasa Manila, ‘yan ang exit mo pero ikaw pala ay galing Pasay, Quezon City pero ang exit mo ay Manila. Magkakaroon ka ng problema kapag ganyan (travel ban to those in Hubei) ang iyong strategy,” he said.
(It’s just like exiting Manila but the place where you really came from was Pasay or Quezon City. You will have a problem if that is your strategy.)
He also said that while the virus causes a low mortality rate, it is rapidly spreading in areas where it was reported, especially in China.
If the government does not impose a travel ban from the entire mainland China, then the country will suffer a “logistical nightmare” since it would be hard to monitor Chinese nationals who might have contracted the virus, according to the former Philhealth official.
Extending the travel ban will likewise “simplify the problem,” said Leachon.
Edited by MUF
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