SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that he has also suggested and is currently studying the possibility of imposing a temporary ban on travelers from other affected areas or countries with confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV ARD.
“We are not discounting the possibility of temporarily banning the travel of those from other areas also affected by the coronavirus,” the senator said.
Upon the recommendation of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, President Rodrigo Duterte has earlier issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals and all travelers coming from the Hubei province of China where the novel coronavirus originated, as well as other places in China where there is a spread of the disease, as officially confirmed by the Chinese government.
In China, at least 259 people have died and 11,791 people have been infected across the country, according to the government on Saturday.
Dozens of cases have also been confirmed in several countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as states in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Australia has confirmed nine cases of the virus. Among the most recent was a 21-year-old woman who was on the last flight out of Wuhan to Sydney before China imposed a travel ban.
The other infections were detected in one man who arrived in Melbourne from China and three men in Sydney who had recently arrived from China and tested positive for the disease. They were being treated in isolation units in local hospitals.
“This travel ban should last until there is no more threat to the health and welfare of our people. I support this and other necessary measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country,” Go said.
Go is also recommending, as a precautionary measure, the implementation of a 14-day quarantine period to all those traveling from other parts of China not covered yet by the temporary travel ban while authorities are still studying the possibility of imposing a temporary travel ban to all passengers coming from China, if necessary.
“We are not discounting the possibility of temporarily banning the travel of those from other areas also affected by the coronavirus,” he said.
“Kung ako lang ang masusunod, i-ban na talaga natin kasi natatakot na ang mga tao, but we must be vigilant. Magtulungan lang tayo. Hindi tayo dapat mag-panic at hindi tayo dapat magsiraan. Huwag tayong mag-spread ng fake news,” Go said referring to suggestions calling for a travel ban for all travelers coming from China.
He added that the welfare of the Filipino people remains his top priority, saying “huwag lang pong kumalat ang virus. Kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino ang aming uunahin dito. Ako, bilang chair ng Senate Committee on Health, nakatutok ako diyan.”
Go also reminded his colleagues in government, especially his fellow senators, to put the interest of all Filipinos first and not resort to blaming authorities which may just cause more confusion and panic.
“Nakikiusap din ako sa ating mga kasamahan sa Senado na huwag naman po sana natin gamitin ang trahedya na ito para sa personal na pamumulitika. Maski anong partido natin, Pilipino pa din naman tayo lahat, di ba? Hindi po ito ang panahon para sa ganitong mga hirit na hindi naman nakakatulong, at lalo lang nakakagulo sa ating mga kababayan,” Go said referring to a statement of another senator saying that travelers from China should go straight to Malacañang if a travel ban is not heeded.
“Hindi nakakatulong ang pag-spread ng fake news. Hindi rin nakakatulong ang pagsakay sa pulitika dahil hindi ito ang panahon para sa pamumulitika. Unahin natin ang kapakanan at kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino,” he added in an ambush interview during the launch of the country’s 61st Malasakit Center at the Mayor Hilario A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center, Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.
Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, said that the government has already put up measures to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV ARD even prior to the Department of Health (DOH) confirming the first case in the Philippines.