Lawmaker: International flight passengers must complete health declaration checklist

Maris Federez
Passengers wearing face masks who arrived from Guangzhou, China lineup for immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, 22 January 2020. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker in the Lower House of Congress is pushing for international flight passengers to completely fill out and submit the health declaration checklist issued to them during their flight.

This is one way to prevent novel coronavirus from entering and spreading in the country.

A Health Declaration Checklist or the Yellow Form is handed out to arriving international flight passengers which is to be filled out to determine the passenger’s country of origin.

This will help authorities verify if the passenger was exposed to an infectious disease.

Included in the checklist is the personal information of the passenger for easier coordination if the need arises.

Iloilo Representative Janette Garin said she wants the health declaration checklist to be completely filled out by arriving international flight passengers to protect the Filipinos against all types of coronavirus.

Health declaration checklists are not handed out to all international arrival passengers except when there are threats of severe epidemic in other countries, in accordance with a directive from the Department of Health.

This measure is part of a government’s efforts to protect the public against the spread of contagious diseases that originate from other countries.

One way is the installation of devices at airports that check passengers for symptoms if they have acquired a disease or an epidemic from their countries of origin.

At present, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is using thermal scanners to check the passengers’ temperature even from a distance.

If a passenger shows symptoms of diseases, such as that of a coronavirus that is now circulating in China, he or she will be put on quarantine to prevent further spread of the symptom in the Philippines.

Authorities say that if and when an international flight passenger is able to go through the gates of the airport but soon feels flu-like symptoms, he or she must immediately inform health authorities and seek medical treatment. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

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