Immigration officers who boarded cruise ships from China placed on home quarantine – BI

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration(BI) on Monday said that 19 of its immigration officers who boarded vessels which carried passengers with travel history from China and its special administrative regions have been placed on home quarantine.

In a statement, the BI said the move is part of its preventive measure against the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the 19 immigration officers boarded five different cruise ships that ferried passengers who traveled to China, Hong Kong, and Macau in the last 14 days and arrived between January to February.

Morente said none of these officers have manifested any symptoms of the disease nor the passengers when they were first examined by the authorities.

“They were assessed by competent personnel of the Bureau of Quarantine, who were part of the boarding teams that inspect arriving ships,” Morente said.

“We are doing this as a preventive measure, to ensure that our officers are protected from the virus,” he added.

The immigration chief also assured his personnel that “there is nothing to worry about” as this move merely “ensures the health and safety of everyone through preventive measures.”

The novel coronavirus – which originated from the Chinese City of Wuhan – has killed over 900 in mainland China as of February 10 with 40,171 confirmed infections, according to a report from China’s National Health Commission.

In the Philippines, health authorities are observing more than 280 individuals for possible novel coronavirus infection. It so far confirmed three cases with one fatality.

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