PPA adopts strict nCoV prevention measures in ports

31 JANUARY 2020, MANILA—The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is adopting stringent prevention measures against the deadly Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) encompassing all PPA-controlled ports nationwide after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first nCoV case Thursday.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago has directed all port managers to double the measures from general thermal scanning to individual checks if a passenger reaches a certain body temperature level.

As early as the first report of an outbreak in China involving the nCoV, the agency has immediately put into place frontline defense against the possible entry of the virus in the country via the ports.

“But with the recent confirmation from the DOH, we immediately deployed the ports’ safety, health and security personnel to immediately craft additional prevention measures on top of the general advisories from the DOH,” Santiago said.

“We are also in close coordination with Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security vessel boarding teams so that essential information that may need swift action could be provided to the ground personnel,” Santiago added.

“Early detection plays a significant role in the prevention of the entry of the virus via our ports, that is why we are asking the DOH to augment the existing number of scanning machines as well as digital thermometers in our ports and at the same time deploy additional health and quarantine personnel to secure our ports,” Santiago stressed.

He added that dedicated nCoV Malasakit HelpDesk shall be provided in the ports in order to facilitate the processing of reports for possible victims. Face masks and sanitizers shall also be distributed to frontline employees.

Digital and traditional visual advisories on how to prevent or avoid contraction of the virus are likewise being posted in conspicuous places inside and outside the ports.

The ports with high concentration of passengers and tourists include the North Harbor in Manila, Batangas, Mindoro, Bohol, Davao, Palawan, Zamboanga, Bicol, among others.

The measures being adopted by the PPA is in line with the earlier pronouncements of the Department of Transportation to reduce the risk of virus contamination via the ports.

The travel ban issued by Malacañang early Friday is also a welcome development in guarding the ports, Santiago added.