Capitol tells passengers: Faithfully fill out MCIA health declaration cards
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu provincial government is asking passengers of international flights arriving at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to “faithfully” fill out their health declaration forms amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV) alert.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the health declaration of passengers, if taken seriously, may be used as a tool to prevent the entry of the 2019-nCoV in the province.
As of January 28, 2020, the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, that is conducting a realtime tracking on the spread of the 2019-nCoV, said there are at least 4,744 confirmed cases of the virus globally and over 107 deaths.
Although there are no confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV in the country yet according to the Department of Health (DOH), health officials said there are at least 11 patients here suspected of the viral infection.
Garcia, during her meeting with officials of DOH-7, Cebu Port Authority (CPA) and the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) and the airport operator, said she is looking for a preventive approach in addressing the 2019-nCoV situation.
The governor said that she has asked GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), the operator of MCIA, to set up a system to keep track of the health declaration sheets better and to initiate prompt action based on the information given by the passengers.
Garcia said entries on the health declaration cards will have to be “very specific” as to the symptoms and conditions that may or may not qualify the passengers as suspected cases of the 2019-nCoV.
“First, on the part of the passengers, to honestly and faithfully fill out these health declaration cards which will be very specific and focused on the present spreading of, well, even the US is calling it although they are hoping it will not be, the pandemic coronavirus,” Garcia said.
The governor said she will be issuing an executive order pertaining to the 2019-nCoV prevention after she would finish consulting with all concerned sectors, including the Bureau of Immigration, tour operators and the Chinese Consulate.
Once an EO is issued, Garcia said the Provincial Board will have pass an ordinance to include fines that will be imposed against those who will not cooperate in the province’s effort to deter the possible spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus here.
Garcia said violations of the would-be ordinance will include injudiciously filling out of the health declarations provided in designated airport counters.
“I am asking already GMCAC to set up a system because this is going to cause a build up but still, this has to be faithfully read. Now, on the part of the passenger, they will have to faithfully and honestly fill out these forms or else there will be penalties,” Garcia said.
Apart from measures in the gateways to the province, Garcia said the hotels and accommodation sector will play a vital role in monitoring the health of their guests while they are in Cebu.
“Kini man gud ang coronavirus, mahimo man nga wala pa ka nagpakita og symptoms but you are already carrying it… I have asked them (hoteliers) already to all of their members to make it a protocol to make a daily temperature check on all, not only Chinese, but all guests,” Garcia said. / dcb
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