As the deadly 2019-novel coronavirus (2019- nCoV) spreads rapidly and claims more lives in its wake, Senator Kiko Pangilinan reiterated his call for the government to suspend all visa issuances to visitors from Wuhan and other areas in China where the deadly virus has spread.

“Visa upon arrival lang ang suspended para sa mga Chinese. Yung tours, delegates, at businessmen, tulad nung cruise ships sa Subic, tuloy-tuloy pa. Dapat lahat,” said Pangilinan.

“The DOH said it would quarantine Filipinos returning from China.”

The veteran legislator pointed out the unequal treatment for Filipino and Chinese travelers, noting that the Department of Health said it would quarantine Filipinos returning from China.

“But what is the rule for the thousands of Chinese arrivals? Bakit mga turistang Chinese galing China sakay ng cruise ship as per Bureau of Immigration at Coast Guard, walang quarantine? Dahil ba may pampadulas ang mga bisita kaya labas-pasok sila?” the seasoned lawmaker asked.

“Bakit kanya-kanyang diskarte ang mga ahensya na salungat sa isa’t-isa? Who is in charge? Meron ba? DoH at Malacañang, kumilos kayo agad at huwag papasukin ang mga turista galing ng China habang nariyan ang outbreak,” the senator said.

“Even Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan.”

He pointed out that as of January 28, 2020, even Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan and have since expanded the travel ban to 16 surrounding cities with a combined population of more than 50 million people.

And aside from China, Malaysia has suspended the issuance of visas for Chinese citizens from Wuhan and the areas around Hubei province to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The U.S. State Department, for its part, has issued a travel advisory to “reconsider travel to China due to novel coronavirus,” while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued warnings Level 3 (avoid all nonessential travel to China) and Level 4 (do not travel to Hubei province, China).

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