Robredo tells Duterte: Ban all travelers from China now

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2020 11:43 AM | Updated as of Jan 31 2020 01:34 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to ban all travelers coming from China after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as a global emergency.

"Ang kasalukuyang banta ng coronavirus sa bawat Pilipino ay nangangailangan ng agarang aksyon mula sa ating pamahalaan," she said in a statement.

(The threat of the coronavirus needs immediate action from our government.)

Robredo added, "Bawat minutong ipapagbukas pa ang pag-aksyon sa mga rekomendasyong ito, lalong nailalagay sa panganib ang kapakanan at kalusugan ng ating mga mamamayan."

(Every minute of delaying in taking action of the recommendations, it would only put the welfare and health of citizens at risk.)

The fast-spreading virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed at least 213 people and infected nearly 10,000 others in China as of Friday.

The United Nations health agency said the declaration of a global emergency aims to arrest cross-border transmission of the virus, which has spread to at least 18 countries.

In her statement, Robredo also urged the Duterte administration to give support to Filipinos that could be affected by the virus, which health authorities said could be transmitted between humans through close contact.

"Buhay ng tao ang nakasalalay kaya agarang aksyon, tamang impormasyon at mabilisang desisyon ang kailangan," she said.

(People's lives are at stake that's why it needs immediate action, correct information and swift decision.)

Robredo added, "Sa panahon ng krisis, dapat makaasa ang taumbayan sa kanyang pamahalaan na walang aaksayahing oras para unahin ang kanilang kapakanan."

(In times of crisis, the Filipino people must be able to depend on their government, which should not waste time in prioritizing their well-being.)

Her statement comes a day after the Philippine government confirmed the country's first case of the virus -- a 38-year-old woman from Wuhan, China who arrived in the Philippines January 21. 

The woman arrived in Manila via Hong Kong on Jan. 21. She is now in an undisclosed government hospital.

The Palace said Friday Duterte has ordered a ban on travelers from the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicenter of the respiratory contagion.

The ban may be expanded to other areas with confirmed cases of the virus, and will last “until the threat is over,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. 

“Upon the recommendation of DOH [Department of Health] Secretary Francisco Duque, the President has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei province of China where the [2019] nCoV originated,” he said. - With a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News