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Mr. President, it’s About Time to Enforce Travel Ban

This is a call to action. It’s better to prevent a worst case scenario from happening rather than dilly-dallying when it comes to the health, security, and welfare of your people. Mr. Duterte, please halt the entries of vessels and incoming air flights from China to our country. Russia and Sabah is already executing this measure. Do not sacrifice diplomatic ties for the lives of your own people who put you in that highest government position.

I know this won’t solve immediately the imminent spread of the 2019-nCoV, pwede rin naman kase na yung mga galing sa ibang bansa na nag-cross country (not limited to China) na nakapasok na sa Pilipinas are already showing signs and symptoms of being afflicted with coronavirus.

Pushing for a travel ban doesn’t make us racist. We are just trying to prevent future and possible incoming threats. This is not even about politics.

It’s not 100% sure to combat the disease but we are talking about national security, health issues, and welfare ng ating kapwa na nasa Pilipinas. It’s not for us not to care at all, Pinoy ka man o ibang lahi.

Image from Manila Bulletin

Now that the Department of Health (DOH) made a confirmation that there is an existing case of a person with coronavirus in the Philippines, the first to be reported and probably won’t be the last, baka pwede na po tayo mag-issue na ng travel ban, sir/Mr. President Duterte. Pwede naman na temporary muna ang travel ban hangga’t hindi pa contained ang outbreak. Saka na mag-lift ng ban kapag napag-alaman na safe na or pwede na ulit i-allow yung mga incoming flights and vessels from China.

For reference, below is the infographic of data showing countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus from the Philippine Red Cross.

Image from Manila Bulletin

The novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China and was discovered late December 2019.

In the latest news report from the World Health Organization (WHO), they are now considering the declaration of the international public health emergency, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Once a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is declared, countries may issue and enforce travel ban to foreigners arriving from countries affected by the outbreak.

PHEIC was previously declared in April 2009 (swine flu); in 2014 (wild poliovirus); from 2014 to 2016 and 2018 to 2019 (ebola outbreak); and in 2015 to 2016 (zika virus).

UPDATE as of 6:29 AM, Friday January 31, 2020 (Manila time)

World Health Organization has declared coronavirus as “public health emergency of international concern.”

“Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen which has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday while announcing the emergency declaration.

While PHEIC is in effect, this does not force the law of imposing travel ban to UN members but it does alert the 194 member countries of the WHO that they should step up precautions, such as screening travelers and monitoring international trade, in hopes of preventing the outbreak from spreading out of control. The countries are also legally required to share information with the WHO.

For now, the WHO does not recommend limiting the movement of travel and trade. But it does hope that countries will work together to identify gaps in their preparedness plans and accelerate the development of vaccines.

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