Updated: Feb 1
Thailand on alert to prevent spread of virus
Thailand has taken high-level measures to monitor and prevent the spread of a new coronavirus after China's public health authority confirmed the virus can spread from human to human.
The Ministry of Public Health said China's decision to put Wuhan -- the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak -- and Huanggang on lockdown will benefit Thailand.
According to Reuters, Wuhan's local government shut down all urban transport networks and suspended outgoing flights from the city at 10am local time on Thursday, adding the government has told citizens not to leave the city unless for special circumstances.
The World Health Organisation called a new coronavirus that has killed 18 people in China and infected around 650 globally "an emergency in China" on Thursday, but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.
So far, Thailand has confirmed four cases of the coronavirus which has claimed 17 lives.
One of the patients with the virus is a 73-year-old Thai woman who is now being treated in Nakhon Pathom.
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Even with coronavirus scare, no mainland Chinese travel ban for now – Duque
The Philippine government is not yet considering imposing a temporary travel ban on all tourists coming from mainland China amid the threat of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCov.
This was Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s response on Wednesday, January 29, when asked by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda during the House of Representatives’ question hour if they were considering a temporary ban on all Chinese tourists.
“Certainly thats one of the possible options that we are looking at, but not at this very moment. The reason being, your honor, is we have to be very careful also of possible repercussions of doing this, in light of the fact that confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus are not limited to China,” Duque said.
The Department of Health (DOH) chief argued it would be unfair if only Chinese tourists are barred from entering the Philippines, when cases of 2019-nCov have also been confirmed in other countries.
“If we do this, then the concerned country – China in this case – might question why we’re not doing the same for all other countries that have reported cases of the new coronavirus. It’s very tricky… but we commit to take this into consideration,” Duque said.
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