PH officials reaching out to Filipinos in virus-stricken Hubei province

Marje Pelayo   •   January 28, 2020   •   261

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine officials in China are closely coordinating with the Filipinos in China especially those stranded in cities locked down due to the outbreak of novel Coronavirus.

In an interview with UNTV’s Good Morning Kuya, First Secretary Raphael Hermoso of the Philippine Embassy in Beijing said they have already contacted one of the four Filipinos registered workers in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the outbreak.

The Filipino, a student in Central China Normal University, confirmed to the Embassy that he is in good condition, according to Hermoso.

The official said they are enforcing strict health measures in the Embassy and all consulates across China to help prevent the infection.

Ini-impose natin ang (We are imposing the) ‘no mask, no entry’ (policy) and temperature check,” Hermoso assured.

Mag self-quarantine kung may nararamdaman na, (We advise Filipinos to self-quarantine if they feel the symptoms) na then (contact us) and we will address the situation,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has advised Filipinos in China “to take necessary precautions and follow the advice from local health authorities in their areas.”

Consulate officials are already in touch with around 150 Filipinos in Wuhan City and has requested Filipino community leaders to provide assistance to those on tour or holders of short-time visit.

We are hoping na hindi na po lumala ang (We are hoping the outbreak will not go out of hand.) Of course, our Philippine Embassy and Consulate will be ready to assist our Kababayans,” Hermoso assured.

The UNTV was able to contact Filipino worker Shaukeen Canas in Jingzhou City in Hubei Province.

Jingzhou City is among the 20 cities currently on lockdown.

Canas said he immediately packed his things upon hearing of the nCoV outbreak.

But when he reached the Jingzhou Train Station, service was shut down and no passengers were allowed inside the station.

Hindi kami nakasakay. Na-close na kami, (We weren’t able to board. It was already closed,)” Canas said.

When they returned to the hotel they were staying, almost all employees have gone out.

Canas was able to film the empty streets in Jingzhou where establishments and houses were all closed.

Lahat sarado po ng establishment para pong (All establishments are now closed), it’s like a ghost town,” she described.

Shaukeen fears for their health given the increasing number of people infected by the novel coronavirus.

She calls on Philippine representatives in China for assistance to immediately leave the virus-stricken area.

The UNTV News Team has forwarded Shaukeen’s number to the Philippine Consulate office in Bejing for assistance. – MNP (with inputs from Victor Cosare)

Coronavirus scare reduces NAIA passenger traffic —MIAA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has reduced passenger traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said Wednesday.

MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said that from January 27 to February 17, the country’s main gateway only handled a total of 1,352,692 international passengers compared to 1,624,698 passengers in the same period in 2019.

Domestic passenger traffic at NAIA also went down to 1,406,876 from January 27 to February 17 compared with 1,456,705 in the same period last year.

“It’s a lost opportunity but at the end of the day, there’s still time to recover and hopefully, we’ll be able to recover soon,” Monreal told reporters at a Palace briefing.

The MIAA chief added that the aviation sector is now slowly recovering from its losses after the government fully lifted the travel restrictions on Taiwan, and allowed Filipino overseas workers, students and permanent residents to leave for Hong Kong and Macau.

“So ngayon po, slowly recovering dahil sa mga pagbabago at panukala dahil sa mga pag-uusap ng task force na ipinatutupad ng task force and hopefully our local tourism will recover soon,” he said.

The Philippine government earlier implemented an entry ban for passengers who traveled to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

It later expanded the travel ban to include Taiwan but was eventually lifted on February 14.

On Tuesday, the government announced that Filipino workers, students and permanent residents bound for Hong Kong and Macau are exempted from the outbound travel ban “subject to certain procedural formalities.”

Meanwhile, Monreal expressed hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease will find a solution to the concerns raised by local airline companies on the safety protocols relating to the travel of its crew to Hong Kong and Macau.

Local carriers have earlier expressed concern on the reduced number of personnel if their crewmembers will constantly be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period after their flights to and from Hong Kong and Macau.  

“Kung ganoon po ang proseso na mayroon pa ho silang quarantine yung mga crew, medyo mahihirapan po sila na magmount ng flights dito kahit po may temporary lifting ng mga pasahero na papunta ng Hong Kong at pabalik po,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

China warns of sustained virus impact on poultry, eggs supply amid rising death toll

UNTV News   •   February 18, 2020

China’s supply of poultry and egg products is likely to be hit in the second and third quarters as the coronavirus outbreak has had a severe impact on the industry, agriculture ministry official Yang Zhenhai told a State Council briefing on Tuesday (February 18).

The world’s second-largest poultry producer, China had been ramping up output to fill a meat shortage after the African swine fever epidemic, which began in 2018, decimated its pig herd.

Poultry prices have plunged this year and restrictions on moving livestock and extended holidays in many areas have paralyzed the supply chain. Farmers have been left with large inventories of birds and eggs even as demand plunged as restaurants and canteens stay shut.

Yang said that since the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 1,800 deaths, live poultry markets have been closed, transportation of baby poultry and live poultry has been curtailed and slaughterhouses have been shut down. (Reuters)

(Production: Wang Shubing, Thomas Suen)

Hospital president dies of infection in Wuhan

UNTV News   •   February 18, 2020

Liu Zhiming

The president of Wuhan’s Wuchang Hospital in central China’s Hubei Province, Liu Zhiming, died at the age of 51 from the novel coronavirus pneumonia, or COVID-19, on Tuesday.

Liu died at 10:54 despite all attempts made by medical staff to cure him, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in an online statement.

Wuchang Hospital was among the first designated to treat infections related to the epidemic. Liu had led the medical staff in the fight against the virus and had made important contributions in the city’s prevention and control efforts, according to the statement.

Chinese authorities said as of February 11, more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected and six have died. (Reuters)

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