Philippine aviation authorities ban flights to Wuhan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2020 06:30 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2020 07:15 PM

Personnel at the NAIA Terminal 1 in Parañaque City wear face masks as the country heightens measures to prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus from China. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Philippine aviation authorities on Thursday banned flights to the Chinese city of Wuhan as a precaution, following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus. 

After a special meeting Thursday afternoon, the Civil Aviation Board said it decided to suspend all flights between Wuhan and all points in the Philippines indefinitely. 

"Alam naman natin na kung baga ito [Wuhan] ay ground zero ng mga outbreak na nagaganap ngayon," said CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla.

(We know that this is ground zero for the outbreaks happening today.)

There are 8 flights per week between Wuhan and other points in the Philippines, Arcilla said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo.

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"Regarding the other cities in China, we will act as warranted by the situation," said Arcilla. He added that they will wait for the World Health Organization's recommendations. 

Wuhan's city government already shut down all urban transport networks and suspended outgoing flights. Chinese media said some airlines were operating after the deadline, however.

The virus has been reported in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong and reached other countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the US.

Airlines in the Philippines have said they are now implementing measures such jet disinfection and checks on protective equipment and flight crew health amid worries that the virus could spread via air travel. 

The new coronavirus has killed 17 in China, sickened more than 500. 

- With reports from Reuters