CLARK FREEPORT -- The Alliance of Travel and Tour Agencies of Pampanga (Attap) has expressed support to the measures being implemented by the government to prevent the spread of the dreaded novel coronavirus in the country.
This, after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) in the country the other day.
Attap president Cristina Garcia said the group is "supporting the prevention of the spread of novel coronavirus in the Philippines by temporarily suspending the entry of various cruise ships for the sake of the health and welfare of the general public."
Garcia stressed the need for strict security measures as the spread of the virus is a worldwide problem.
"This not just a regional scare but a global one that resulted to hundreds of casualties and thousands of confirmed cases with its rapid transmission from one person to another. At these particular times, safety and security comes first over economics," she said.
The port call of the M/V World Dream cruise ship in Subic scheduled last Wednesday, January 29, was cancelled amid the hysteria.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chair and Administrator Wilma Eisma said the cruise ship visit was cancelled by the Genting Cruise Lines, the operator of the cruise liner.
Eisma said some residents in Olongapo City expressed opposition to the scheduled visit of the cruise ship because of the ongoing 2019-nCoV ARD health emergency.
The ship arrived in Manila on Tuesday, January 28, with a total of 778 passengers, and authorities said passengers, who were seen wearing masks, were allowed to disembark at around 11:30 a.m.
M/V World Dream, which is one of the frequent visitors to Subic in the last two years, usually carried more than 3,000 passengers on a trip but had reportedly skipped picking up the majority of its bookings from Guangzhou, a port city northwest of Hong Kong and located further inland, because of a government lockdown at the Wuhan area, the epicenter of the infections.
The Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (Catos) earlier expressed support to government decision temporarily restricting the entry of Chinese tourists in the country.
Catos president Alice Queblatin said that arrivals will resume after the threat of the novel coronavirus is lifted.
Countries with confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV ARD as of January 30 include China, 7,711; Thailand, 14; America, five; UAE, four; Malaysia, eight; Japan, 11; Canada, three; Cambodia, one; Taiwan, eight; Nepal, one; Vietnam, two; India, one; France, five; Germany, four; South Korea, four; Finland, one; Singapore, 10; and Sri Lanka, one.