AN opposition solon called for a total ban on all Chinese from abroad, including those from Hong Kong.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said this is better than partial ban in addressing the Novel Coronavirus (N-CoV).
In a statement, Lagman said President Rodrigo Duterte’s order banning the entry of Chinese nationals coming from Hubei Province, whose capital city of Wuhan is the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, is patently superfluous.
This is because the subject area was earlier locked down or placed on quarantine by Chinese authorities preventing the exit of people.
“What is imperative is to ban flights to and from the entire Chinese mainland, including Hong Kong,” Lagman said.
The solon stressed that health and safety of Filipinos must be paramount over diplomatic niceties, tourism revenues, and income of Philippine airline companies.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific must suspend all flights to and from China and Hong Kong, Lagman added.
He said they should stop servicing selective Chinese destinations and put on hold the current policy of merely reducing flight frequency.
“The ban must also include the arrival of Chinese nationals and other tourists from China on cruise ships and other vessels,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the viral outbreak as a global health emergency.
The following countries, among others, have banned travel to and from China: Israel, Italy, Pakistan, Iran, Mongolia, and Singapore. Vietnam has stopped issuing visas to Chinese nationals while Armenia has suspended its visa-free travel agreement with China.
Meanwhile, Lagman said, the officials and personnel of the Bureau of Immigration must be given due recognition for their selfless dedication in manning airports and seaports despite the hazard of being contaminated with the novel coronavirus.
Recognition must also be given to Filipino medical professionals who risk their own health and safety in ministering to suspected novel coronavirus carriers, Lagman said.