Philippines to fight coronavirus with disembarkation ban

Beautiful sunset and industrial cargo cranes in Manila bay, Philippines

The Philippines has banned the disembarkation of crews from any vessel originating from China in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

In a statement, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said its ports remained open to vessels from China and its Special Administrative Regions (SARs) and that it hoped the measures were meant to not maintain trade.

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As well as the ban on disembarkation of vessel crew, no visitors will be allowed on any docked vessel in any PPA-controlled port or at anchorage.

The restrictions relate specifically to vessels that have called at any of China’s ports or its SARs. If the time elapsed is more than 14 days then the restrictions won’t apply.

The ban is the latest step in a series of measures taken by Manila against the spread of the disease.

Earlier in February 2020, a 44-year-old Filipino man who had traveled from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, became the first patient outside China to die of coronavirus.

In response, the government stopped issuing visas to Chinese nationals and stopped giving upon-arrival visas to foreign nationals from China and its SARs.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said that the majority of the Philippines’ cargo originates from hub ports in China and its SARs such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, which means the country cannot afford to close trade to China.

“We cannot afford to ban the entry of international ships to our shores in the midst of this nCoV ARD scare as doing so will surely paralyze our supply chain as most of our imports and exports go to the hub ports located in China and its SARs.

“Shipping operators need not worry as long as you follow this condition and those listed in the guidelines of the Bureau of Quarantine relative to concerns with a declaration of public health emergency with international concern, you can call at any Philippine port.”

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