Bayan Muna: We need efficient screening of travelers from China, other countries

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Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Carlos Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite on Thursday called on the Duterte administration to implement an efficient health screening, surveillance and monitoring of travelers from countries infected by the new coronavirus.

The new coronavirus strain originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei late last year, but has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

It has reportedly caused 9 deaths.

“What we need to ensure is for people not be paranoid or panicky due to this disease,” Zarate said.

“We already dealt with this type of situation before when SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), killed nearly 800 people mostly from mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003 and this was so close to the Philippines but we were able to contain it,” he added.

“We should ensure adequate preparations- supplies, medicines, facilities, adequate personnel and budget like when we dealt with SARS so as to restrict its entry in the country and contain it, if it does,” he said.

“The front line agencies, like the DOH, airport and seaport authorities, immigrarion, should be very pro-active in instituting preventive measures now,” Zarate said.

Gaite said: ”Dapat may mechanism in place at ready na kung sakaling makapasok at kumalat ang 2019 Novel coronavirus.”

“Tulad sa disaster sa Taal. We need adequate preparations and effective response and we hope that they are now in place,” he added.