Cebu airport implements stricter screening amid coronavirus threat

Ryan Macasero
Cebu airport implements stricter screening amid coronavirus threat
The Mactan Cebu International Airport placed intensified thermal scanning devices to check arriving passengers in the international terminal, which has flights coming from mainland China

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is implementing stricter measures amid a possible threat of a Coronavirus outbreak. 

Those measures include the following:

  • Intensified thermal scanning
  • Hand sanitization and air disinfection
  • Dedicated medical team at the arrivals area,
  • Information materials and announcements in both terminals.

The MCIA said in a Facebook post on Thursday, January 23, that arriving passengers experiencing flu-like symptoms are encouraged to self-declare and submit to a medical screening by the Bureau of Quarantine upon disembarking.

Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella said in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday, January 25, that he also deployed extra personnel to the airport to assist in screening passengers for the virus.

“The City Government has already taken steps against nCoV by instructing Dr. Daisy Villa, the chief of our City Health Department to deploy health personnel to Mactan-Cebu International Airport and help the Bureau of Quarantine and Department of Health in monitoring the illness,” the statement read. 

He also asked the city’s 80 barangays to report to the city government any residents experiencing symptoms of the illness. 

So far, there is still no case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Philippines. (READ: ‘Novel coronavirus’ or 2019 nCoV: What we know so far)

A boy who came from Wuhan to Cebu was quarantined for several days, but confirmatory tests came back negative for novel coronavirus. (READ: Child in Cebu probed for new Coronavirus tests negative)

Labella also said he would not rule out a possible ban of Chinese tourists in the city.

“Who should not be concerned? We should all be concerned. And while we are concerned, we have to do something, we have to take steps to prevent this disease from affecting our people in the City of Cebu,” the mayor said.

The Department of Health said separately that it was ready in case of an nCoV outbreak in the Philippines. 

It would use guidelines followed during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) outbreaks in 2003 and 2014,” respectively, but “with modifications” attentive to the new virus.

Chinese state media first reported the virus on December 31 and confirmed that at least 44 people from Wuhan, China, were infected with the virus.

So far there are confirmed cases of coronavirus in the following countries:


  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Malaysia

  • Nepal

  • Singapore
  • South Korea

  • Taiwan
United States

In mainland China, the MCIA has direct flights with Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou. 

It also has several direct flights with Hong Kong and Macau.

The Department of Health (DOH) and World Health Organization (WHO)  reminded people to maintain good hygiene, as transmission could come from contact with animals or other humans. They advised the public to wash their hands frequently and to be mindful of coughing and sneezing.

This means maintaining distance and covering your nose and mouth with tissue, a towel, or the crook of your elbow. They are also reminding people to cook their food properly. –

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at