Subic port to impose travel restrictions to curb coronavirus threat


Posted at Feb 01 2020 04:46 PM

MANILA—Visitors from Hubei province in China, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, will no longer be allowed entry at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, upon the recommendations of its administrator Saturday.

In a statement, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said apart from the ban on visitors from Wuhan, the port will also impose a 14-day isolation period for travelers from other parts of China.

Meanwhile, travelers from other countries are encouraged to undergo a 3-day voluntary isolation upon arrival at Subic.

"[T]he Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is taking the threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus seriously," Eisma said. "As always, the health and safety of our stakeholders is paramount."

"All foreign nationals will be subject to temperature check and physical observation for cough or colds. All who are positive for high temperature, cough or colds will be sent back and not allowed entry," she added.

Eisma also blocked Philippine online gambling operations from further recruiting personnel from China "until further notice."

The recommendations are still awaiting approval from the SBMA board of directors, according to Eisma.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered a ban on travelers Hubei, following the advise of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III as the Philippines recorded its first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).

Subic Bay is a "special economic and freeport zone" created by law in 1992 to accelerate the conversion of former US military base "into a dynamic economic growth center." Select investors are granted entry and even resident status without any need of special authorization from the Bureau of Immigration.