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On banning Chinese tourists: Compassion over panic

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc - CDN Digital | January 31,2020 - 08:28 AM

With the news about the novel coronavirus and the first confirmed case in the country that landed in the headlines of all media outlets including social media, I remember the 2016 Korean zombie movie entitled “Train to Busan.”

The film set a record as the first Korean film of 2016 to break the audience record of over 10 million theatergoers in South Korea. The movie grossed $93.1 million worldwide and it became the highest-grossing Korean film in the neighboring countries.

It has a lot of lessons that were injected in. In a nutshell, the movie goes this way: A divorced husband travelled with his daughter to Busan City to visit the latter’s mother. While they were on board a fast train together with the many passengers, there was a countrywide viral zombie outbreak in South Korea.

A passenger attacks a member of the train staff and soon all the passengers in the car are attacked, turning into zombies. On their journey, the non-infected passengers have to fight the zombies while the train was heading to Busan, a southern resort city that has managed to hold off the zombie hordes.

However upon arrival at the Busan borders, there were only two survivors left, the aforementioned daughter and a pregnant woman. They disembarked from the train and walked through a dark tunnel to finally enter the safe City.

The border was fully guarded by the Busan military ready to fire at the zombies to ensure that it cannot enter the place and spread the virus. The military is about to open fire at the two persons walking through the dark tunnel believing that they are zombies.

However the military commander was very careful in giving the command to open fire. They try to find all the signs whether the two who walked in the dark tunnel were zombies or non-affected human beings.

When they heard the child singing while crying, they made a conclusion that they are non–infected humans because zombies in that movie could not cry and sing. The commander ordered to hold their fire and instead save the two and welcomed them to the safe city.

Although that was only a movie, I think we can get a lot of lessons out of it. On the issue of banning the Chinese tourists from entering our country because of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, we also need to be careful. After all, China is a big country and majority of its citizens are not infected of the virus.

While I appreciate the plans of some of our officials to implement a ban on Chinese tourists, I believe only those from Wuhan and its neighboring cities should be banned and after knowing with certainly that they have signs and symptoms of the virus.

The order of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of 14-days quarantine for travelers from China, Macau and Hong Kong for purposes of containing the spread of novel coronavirus is laudable. At least our authorities will have ample time to observe the travelers within the incubation period of the virus.

Those who are clearly non infected are still welcome for so many reasons, including humanitarian as we provide them a safe place while experts are still finding ways to fight the illness. We are talking of human beings. They are not animals like pigs affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).

Imagine if we were in the shoes of our Chinese brothers and sisters, what would we feel?

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