Cebu to start screening domestic passengers after coronavirus cases confirmed in Metro Manila

Ryan Macasero
Currently, only passengers from international airports are scanned for high fever

SCANNING. Scanners at the Mactan Cebu International Airport check temperatures of arriving passengers. File photo by Gelo Litonjua/Rappler

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Mactan Cebu International Airport’s domestic terminal will add thermal screening to domestic flights after 10 cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in Metro Manila.

Bureau of Quarantine Central Visayas chief Dr. Terrence Anthony Bernejo said in a press conference on Monday, March 9, that currently, only passengers coming out of the domestic airport are being scanned for high fever.

As of Monday, Department of Health Region 7 head Dr. Jaime Bernadas said that there are no more patients under investigation or persons under monitoring in Central Visayas.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who held an emergency meeting on the novel coronavirus outbreak on Monday afternoon, expressed concern that  none of the confirmed cases came from countries that were included in the Philippines’ travel ban.

After the travel ban on mainland China and special administrative regions was announced in late January, Cebu has been requiring returning Filipinos from these areas to go under quarantine. (READ: Cebu to quarantine passengers from mainland China for 14 days)

Among the confirmed cases, one was Taiwanese, another a Filipino with travel history to Japan, and an American male who came from South Korea. (READ: Coronavirus cases in Philippines rise to 10)

Garcia is meeting with stakeholders to come up with more stringent containment strategies and response plans after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency earlier on Monday. (READ: Duterte declares state of public health emergency amid rise in coronavirus cases)

The first confirmed COVID-19 case traveled through Central Visayas, including Cebu and Dumaguete, before going to Manila.

The 26 South Koreans from virus-hit Daegu City, South Korea, were also quarantined in Cebu.

According to recent data, the tourism-reliant region has taken a hit due to the novel coronavirus travel bans. The Department of Tourism said hotel occupancies in Cebu and Bohol have dropped 20% and 35%, respectively. (READ: Hotel occupancy down in Cebu due to coronavirus travel ban)

So far, the DOH has probed a total of 700 patients for possible infection nationwide – 48 have been admitted in health facilities across the country, while 646 have been discharged.

At least 89 Filipinos outside the country have contracted the virus since the outbreak began. These cases included 4 cases in Hong Kong, 80 from the Diamod Princess cruise ship that docked in Japan, 3 in Singapore, and 2 in the United Arab Emirates.

As of Sunday, March 8, 40 Filipinos from the Diamond Princess,1 in Singapore, and 2 in Hong Kong have since recovered.

Globally, the death toll from the virus was pegged at 3,803, while over 109,000 infections have been confirmed across 104 countries. –

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.