Lapu mayor asks DOH to ban direct flights from neighboring cities of Wuhan City

By: Rosalie Abatayo - Reporter/CDN Digital | January 28,2020 - 12:34 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Amid the threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan has called on the Department of Health (DoH) to consider banning direct flights from the neighboring cities of Wuhan, China to Cebu as part of the preventive measures against the deadly virus.

In a post on his official Facebook page this morning, January 28, 2020, Chan said the DOH is the proper agency to implement the ban since this is a public health concern.

“Nanawagan kita sa Department of Health (DOH) to consider banning of flights from China as a preventive measure pareha sa gibuhat sa Canada ug sa UK kay naa tay mga direct flights sa mga neighboring cities sa Wuhan, China kung diin nagsugod ang maong virus,” Chan wrote.

(We are calling on the Department of Health to consider banning of flights from China as a preventive measure like what Canada and the United Kingdom has implemented. We have direct flights bound for neighboring cities of Wuhan, China, where this virus has reportedly originated from.)

MCIA currently has 36 direct flights to and from China every week. These flights are for Guangzhou, Xiamen, Jinjiang, Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenzhen Nanjing, and Hangzhou.

The mayor, though, didn’t specify which flights he wanted banned.

Avigael Ratcliffe, juniot corporate communications manager of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), said MCIA did not have flights bound for Wuhan City in China even before the 2019-nCoV alert.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Civil Aeronautics Boards (CAB) have already suspended indefinitely all of the country’s direct flights to and from Wuhan City, China last Friday, January 24, 2020.

Read: All PH direct flights to and from Wuhan City suspended indefinitely

DOTr and CAB said the decision was reached as a precautionary measure to prevent the possible entry and threat of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines.

Lapu-Lapu City is where the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is located at. MCIA has at least 13 direct flights to different parts of China, some of them from nearby Wuhan City.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, in an earlier interview, said she has yet to hear insights from all concerned sectors before deciding if she will order ban of tourists from China.

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

Garcia said she would also confer with the Bureau of Immigration, travel operators and the Chinese Consulate regarding the measures that she would undertake.

Fake news

Meanwhile, Chan belied reports of “confirmed” presence of the 2019-nCoV in his city. The speculation stemmed from a post online that claimed that a family of three was confined in a private hospital in Barangay Agus  due to a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV.

“Usa kini ka FAKE NEWS. Usa ka 3-anyos nga batang Chinese gikan sa Guangzhou, China ang nakitaan og mga simptomas sa maong virus pero suspected pa lang kini ug dili tinuod nga [confirmed nga] naay coronavirus,” Chan said.

(This is FAKE NEWS. A 3-year-old Chinese from Guangzhou, China manifested symptoms of the viral infection but it is still a suspected case and it is not true that the coronavirus infection is confirmed.)

Read2 airlines to suspend Wuhan flights after coronavirus scare

Chan said the boy is already under treatment and has been isolated. He added that the City Health Office is also monitoring the progress of the child. /bmjo

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TAGS: 2019-nCov, ban, Cebu City, Corona virus, direct flights, Lapu-Lapu City, MCIA, neighboring cities, Wuhan China

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