DoT issues measures in handling tourists amid coronavirus scare

February 01, 2020

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) urged tourism enterprises such as accommodation establishments to take immediate protective measures to avoid, correct or remove imminent danger in areas where tourists are evidently at risk of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection.

The DOT  encouraged them to consider adopting the following steps in handling guests:

A. ) For accommodation establishments: Checked-in Guests With Symptoms: If guests report symptoms, please follow these steps:

1. Ask the three questions indicated in DOH Decision Table below:

Decision Table:

1. Have you recently (14 days) travelled to China or a country or place on the WHO list with local transmission or outbreak of 2019-nCoV?

2. Have you had recent contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected case of 2019-nCov?; and

3. Do you have such symptoms as fever greater than 38 degrees Celsius and flu-like symptoms such as cough, difficulty of breathing or shortness of breath?

a. If the guest answers YES to ANY of the questions, s/he shall be considered “probable nCoV” and must be referred to nearest local health worker or government hospital for nCoV medical protocol.

b. If the guest answers NO to ALL of the questions, s/he shall be considered “negative nCoV”, but must be referred to a doctor to address symptoms.

Stringent sanitation standards in all sectors of the workplace like housekeeping and food and beverage must also be implemented.

Other tourism stakeholders are encouraged to adopt this set of guidelines andcustomize to the most appropriate process in their operations.

To prevent the  spread of nCoV, the DOT  recommended the following:  a. Practice frequent and proper handwashing;  b. Practice proper cough etiquette; c. Always bring a handkerchief/tissue; d. Cover the mouth and nose using a handkerchief/tissue (sleeves or crook of the elbow may also be used to cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing);  e. Move away from people when coughing;  f. Do not spit; g. Throw away used tissues properly;  h. Always wash your hands after sneezing or coughing;  i. Use alcohol/hand sanitizer; j. Avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals;  k. Ensure that food is well-cooked; and l. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to build up immunity.

The DOH is closely monitoring individuals who manifest signs of respiratory infection and have a history of travel to China. It is coordinating with WHO and China Center for Disease Control for updates.

It is also enhancing its coronavirus laboratory testing capacity, hospital preparedness, rapid response, and its risk communication and information dissemination. Personal protective equipment are made available at the Bureau of Quarantine, Centers for Health Development, and DOH hospitals.

Meanwhile, the  Bureau of Quarantine is working with airlines and airport authorities to strengthen border surveillance, while the Epidemiology Bureau is heightening its community surveillance.