Health adviser: No need to close PH borders amid monkeypox worries

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2022 01:48 PM | Updated as of May 21 2022 02:00 PM

Foreign nationals arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on February 10, 2022, the first day the country reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Foreign nationals arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on February 10, 2022, the first day the country reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – A government health adviser on Saturday said government need not close the country’s borders over monkeypox fears.

Dr. Ted Herbosa, National Task Force Against COVID-19 special adviser, said current health measures for the novel coronavirus would help prevent its spread.

"Hindi naman siya ganoon as a COVID-19 na nakakahawa at hindi siya bago na sakit. Alam na natin paano gamutin, paano ang hawahan nito. Hindi siya mystery illness ... na napilitan tayo magsara ng borders," said Herbosa in a televised briefing.

"Ako as an adviser will not recommend closing our borders just because may 85 reported cases ng monkeypox."

Herbosa noted the detrimental effects of a lockdown to a country's supply chain and economy, and hoped that the monkeypox outbreak would not be a pandemic. 

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The Department of Health on Friday said while the country has yet to detect a monkeypox case, it was monitoring and intensifying surveillance to prevent the disease from entering the country. 

"Naalaarma sila (World Health Organization) na biglang dumami 'yung mga countries na nagre-report ng monkeypox, 85 cases sa buong mundo in the past days. Ang explanation nila is sa muling pagbukas ng travel ... kaya nagkaroon ng reported cases," Herbosa said.

"Hindi sapat o hindi tama na dapat mag-close down kasi parang sinabi mo lang may outbreak ng bulutong-tubig sa buong parte ng mundo. Maghahanda tayo."

North America and Europe reported dozens of cases of the illness in recent weeks. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said monkeypox often starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle ache and swollen lymph nodes before causing a chickenpox-like rash on the face and body,

Most people recover from the illness within several weeks and has only killed several individuals in some cases. Such cases were supposedly rare in Europe and North Africa, based on reports. 

The government's COVID-19 task force approved in late January the entry of fully vaccinated tourists coming from 157 countries that have visa-free arrangements with the country, in a bid to drive recovery for the country's hard-hit tourism industry.

In April, government also approved the entry of all fully vaccinated travelers. 

— With a report from Agence France-Presse