DOH weighing options whether to expand travel ban to other countries
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said government is weighing its options on whether to expand the travel ban to other countries with cases of novel coronavirus.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel Friday, Duque said such move would need to undergo careful study.
“We have to look at the numbers also, we have to be careful because some of the numbers might be very few in some places and then there are countries reporting also,” Duque said.
“So we might have to extend that ban to also all the other 17 other countries. So kailangan pagisipan maigi,” he added.
The health chief said he would meet with representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, and the Department of Transportation.
“So lahat po yun ay pupulungin ko at kasi kahapon ang understanding or ang agreement is to impose a travel restriction only from Hubei. But we will see,” he said.
Duque said he is open to a ban on all travelers coming in from China, not only from Hubei province, but said a possible expansion of the ban would be based on the latest risk assessment of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO earlier declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public emergency of international concern.
“We’ll see later on what the latest risk assessment is of the neighboring provinces of China if there are more cases and rapidly. We can consider that because the situation remains fluid, we’ll see,” he said.
The DOH earlier confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus in the Philippines.
Duque said a 38-year-old Chinese woman, who arrived in the Philippines through a flight from Hong Kong last week, tested positive for novel coronavirus, which first broke out in the capital city of Wuhan in Hubei province.
President Rodrigo Duterte has already ordered a temporary ban on Chinese nationals from Hubei province and from other parts of China where the spread of the novel coronavirus has been reported.
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