Need for quarantine to surge with inclusion of Taiwan in travel ban
CEBU CITY, Philippines — With Taiwan’s official inclusion in the Philippine government’s travel ban amid the 2019 novel coronavirus threat, the Cebu provincial government is expecting a surge in the number of Filipinos who will need to undergo mandatory quarantine.
GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC), the operator of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA), said the airport has already started to implement the inclusion of Taiwan in the travel ban issued by the national government.
The Bureau of Immigration has already issued a Memorandum which officialized the travel ban to and from Taiwan beginning 9:50 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10.
Prior to the ban, MCIA had 27 flights to and from Taiwan every week.
At least 47 repatriated Filipinos were expected to arrive through a flight from Taiwan to MCIA today, Feb. 11.
“GMCAC maintains its close coordination with the Mactan–Cebu International Airport Authority, Bureaus of Immigration and Quarantine, all airline operators, and concerned airport stakeholders in the proper enforcement of the updated travel ban and ensuring the welfare of our passengers and employees,” GMCAC said in a statement.
Based on the travel ban imposed by the Philippine government, all nationals except Filipinos and those who carry a permanent resident visa shall not be allowed to enter the country if they have travel history to China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan within the past 14 days.
The travel ban also includes those nationals that had been to the said areas due to their connecting flights.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, in a press conference today, February 11, 2020, said arriving Filipinos and permanent Philippine residents from Taiwan shall observe the same protocol with those coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
This means that they, too, will be subject to mandatory quarantine either in the Department of Health-designated facilities or in their homes, if they qualify.
Garcia has earlier issued Executive Order no. 5 to lay down the protocol and guidelines for the quarantine of passengers who will arrive at MCIA.
“Ang ato lang karon nga gitan-aw nga concern is our quarantine facility. We expect 47 or more arriving in the flight that comes in from Taiwan [today]. We do not know how many will qualify for home quarantine but the balance of that will have to be catered by the DOH quarantine facility or our own facility,” Garcia said.
Garcia said the province is now preparing a Capitol-owned evacuation center in Barangay Busay, Cebu City to be the fourth quarantine site for passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Macau and now, Taiwan.
The other quarantine centers include the Eversley Child’s Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City which is run by the DOH-7, the Capitol’s Women and Children Development Center in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, and the drug rehabilitation facility in Pinamungajan that the Capitol donated to DOH-7.
Garcia said the facility in Pinamungajan will only be used once all feasible quarantine facilities within Metro Cebu will be full. /rcg
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