Gwen: Capitol, gov’t agencies should first study carefully ‘tourist ban’ plan

By: Rosalie Abatayo January 27,2020 - 09:01 PM

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on actions against novel coronavirus threat in Cebu. | Rosalie O. Abatayo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Before Cebu would proceed to ban any nationality in relation to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said insights from all sectors and concerned government agencies must be taken into account first.

Garcia, in a news conference on Monday afternoon, January 27, 2020, said she planned to issue an executive order pertaining to the 2019-nCoV scare once she had gathered all relevant insights pertaining to the health situation.

Read more: Cebu bans hogs from Luzon, processed pork products from Bulacan and Rizal

“In the same way with the ASF (African Swine Fever), wala man ko nideretso og issue of EO. Wala ko nideretso og ban. But once mo-desider ta nga ato nang i-ban, we’ll stick to it,” Garcia said.

(In the same way with the ASF, I did not issue an EO right away nor did I immediately order the ban against the entry of pork. But once it is decided that we will ban their entry, we’ll stick with it.)

Garcia said she would want to carefully study the situation first and proceed with caution as she had foreseen “resistance” should she order a ban on the entry of certain tourists.

Read more: CPA mulls emergency purchase of thermal scanners for Cebu ports

Earlier, the governor met with Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) and representatives of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), MCIA operator GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), and Cebu Port Authority among others for the initial discussion on the update of the 2019-nCoV and the measures that are already in place.

“Now, from their inputs, we are looking into a direction that we shall be taking. I shall not disclose that for now [because] it will be premature,” Garcia said.

She would still have to confer with the Bureau of Immigration, travel operators and the Chinese Consulate regarding the measures that she would undertake.

“Already, hospitals are coming up with measures on how to treat those who are afflicted with the novel coronavirus. But must we come to that?” Garcia said.

“We have to strengthen the preventive aspect. How can we do that? By looking into the pre-entry of the tourist because obviously, this virus is not from Barangay Balaygtiki in Dumanjug. It’s coming from the outside, specifically, China. We will be strengthening the pre-entry, entry, the stay phase before we need to reach the curative aspect,” the governor said.

Read more: DOTr to all seaports, airports: Be vigilant amid 2019 nCoV threats

On Thursday, January 30, Garcia is set to meet again with the DOH-7, BOQ, MCIAA, GMCAC, and the airline companies as well as the Chinese Consulate, Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine National Police to further discuss measures  against the 2019-nCOV.

The executive order, which she would eventually sign, Garcia said, should also be backed by a provincial ordinance in order to provide sanctions for the violations of the guidelines that would be set there./dbs

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TAGS: coronavirus, Garcia, governor, Gwendolyn, nCOV, Novel, tourist ban

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