CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia announced on Thursday, January 30, that the provincial government would quarantine passengers arriving from mainland China.
“We have over 1,000 [passenger] arrivals from China on a daily basis, this is why I’m pre-empting my own executive order,” Garcia said during a multi-sectoral meeting.
Garcia said that this would be the response of the Cebu government, instead of banning flights from mainland China.
In attendance were representatives from the Department of Health, Cebu tour operators, and other sectors impacted by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) spread.
Earlier Thursday, the Philippines confirmed its first case of 2019-nCoV.
The Mactan Cebu International Airport, which has direct flights from mainland China, already placed thermal scanners at the airport. However, some passengers carrying the virus may be asymptomatic, meaning without a fever and not coughing or sneezing, upon arriving in Cebu. (READ: Cebu airport implements stricter screening amid coronavirus threat)
The reason the Cebu government issued a 14-day quarantine was to monitor arriving passengers during the 2- to 14-day incubation period of the virus. Garcia said that she was announcing the policy early to let passengers know that if they choose to proceed with their flights, that they would be in isolation for 14 days. “It will be very ‘spartan’ accomodations,” Garcia said.
“It will be just a bed, blanket and pillow. [It will be] clean, but spartan,” she added. She said there are already facilities available, about 250 beds, but are asking other government agencies and the private sector to help with quarantine facilities.
Officials from the Department of Health reminded the public to practice proper hygiene to combat 2019-nCoV infection. These include washing their hands before touching their face, and coughing into the crook of their elbow. – Rappler.com