Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said on Sunday, January 26, that the government is keeping tight watch on foreign tourists and returning Filipinos to make sure that the deadly novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City in China will not spread in the country.
“Bantay sarado ang ating mga medical workers at officials. They are implementing strict measures upang hindi makapasok ang virus. Meron tayong mga thermal scanners sa mga airports all over the country. Kwarenta po ‘yan, nakakalat,” Go said during an interview after the inauguration of a new basketball gymnasium in Valenzuela City.
He added that as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, it is part of his responsibility to monitor this particular situation. “Tungkulin ko rin po ito, at nag-aalala ako kung sakaling makapasok ‘yan sa ating bansa. Huwag naman sana.”
The previously unknown coronavirus, which experts say may have been transmitted from animals to humans, has infected more than 2,000 individuals since December 2019, mostly in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China. At least 56 people have died from the virus as of January 26, and cases have been confirmed in several countries around the world.
Suspected cases have been reported in the Philippines, but the results have been negative. “Kinausap ko si Secretary Duque kagabi, at so far naman po, sabi niya wala, walang positibo,” Go said, referring to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
The Civil Aeronautics Board, with the approval of the Department of Transportation, has suspended all flights between Wuhan and all points in the Philippines to prevent the possible spread of the virus. Tourists from Wuhan were also prohibited from extending their stay in the country and ordered to go home by January 27.
The Chinese government has also imposed its own travel ban between Wuhan and other cities in China.
Go asked Filipinos to cooperate with the government’s efforts. “Kapag merong kahinahinala, i-report niyo agad sa ating health officials. Sundin niyo ang mga payo nila, at ang mga bawal, huwag niyong gawin. Kung kailangan, maglagay ng face mask. Maghugas tayo palagi ng ating mga kamay,” he said.
According to a health advisory of the Department of Health, severe cases of coronavirus may result in pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney problems and death. DOH has advised the public to wash their hands frequently, avoid contact with live animals, drink plenty of water and make sure that food being consumed are cooked properly.
DOH also advised the public to avoid those who have cough and colds and to always cover one’s mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing to stop the possible spread of viruses. Those with flu-like symptoms are also advised to consult a doctor.
Go advised the public to take the threat seriously and cooperate with authorities in order to ensure that Filipinos will not be affected by the virus.
“Talagang delikado po ito. Mahirap i-contain ito. Tingnan niyo po sa Wuhan. Medyo paralyzed na ang lugar,” Go said.