Some Cebu residents are in fear as authorities began their search across the province for those who may have come in close contact with the Chinese couple who were confirmed to have been infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Philippines' first two cases of the fast-spreading disease.
The Chinese couple, who came to the country via Hong Kong, were from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The man died on Saturday while the woman, the first confirmed case, remains in a hospital in Metro Manila but no longer has symptoms.
"Marion," who works at the check-in counter at Passenger Terminal 1 of the Cebu Port, is scared because he's not sure if he had come in contact with the Chinese couple.
"I'm scared because of the news of that disease," he told ABS-CBN News in the vernacular on Thursday.
Some guests with scheduled tours in nearby Bohol wanted to cancel due to the virus scare, but since their bookings would be a waste if they didn't push through, they went ahead but put their own measures in place.
"We left our 1-year-old child who was supposed to be part of this trip because we are scared that the child might get sick," said Pearl Milka, a local tourist.
Cancellations of online bookings have been evident after the declaration of the Department of Health (DOH) that the Chinese couple were positive of the new coronavirus.
More guests called off their trips after the DOH announced the death of the man, the first fatality due to the virus outside China.
"Our company is so affected, of course, we want income but this is damaging our business too much," said Manager Marjorie Solomon.
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines, whose flights the couple took between Cebu and Manila, are coordinating with authorities to trace passengers who the Chinese nationals had flown with.
The Philippines has confirmed three cases of the new coronavirus while a total of 178 have been or are being checked for the acute respiratory disease here.
The virus has killed at least 560 people and infected over 27,000, mostly in China.