Officials in Cebu, Philippines, announced quarantine for visitors from Iran and Italy from March 11, due to COVID-19. Other measures apply.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 10 Mar 2020 10:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport restrictions, heightened security, enhanced health screenings; possible localized business disruptions, protests

Summary
Officials in Cebu Province have announced a compulsory two-week quarantine for visitors who have been in Iran and Italy within the past 14 days from March 11. The measure is part of the attempt to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Passengers, however, will reportedly have the option of either undergoing two-week quarantine in Cebu or taking the next flight back to their port of origin.

The national government had earlier declared a state of Public Health Emergency, under which it can issue quarantine orders to suspected COVID-19 individuals; refusals to comply can result in sanctions. Nationwide restrictions, such as travel bans to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea's North Gyeongsang Province and Daegu, remain in place, with some limited exemptions. Additionally, officials have banned foreigners who have been to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea's North Gyeongsang Province and Daegu in the past 14 days from entering the Philippines. Authorities also require Philippine citizens and permanent residents with recent trips to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau to undergo a 14-day quarantine period. Several airlines have also suspended or reduced services between the Philippines and mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea. The duration of the restrictions will likely depend on the course of the outbreak in China, South Korea, and other countries.

Several city-specific restrictions also apply. Local authorities in Quezon Province's Cagbalete Island have barred both domestic and foreign tourists from entering the island through at least March 23. Reports indicate that officials in several cities, such as Kibungan, Benguet Province, and Balbalan and Tinglayan, Kalinga Province, have also restricted tourist entry due to COVID-19 concerns; it is unclear whether the measures apply to Philippine nationals. Heightened security - particularly checkpoints - is highly likely in the locations to monitor travel. The central government also deployed additional police officers in New Clark City, Tarlac Province, due to the quarantine of evacuated citizens from Japan. The measures may prompt localized business disruptions and demonstrations by residents in some areas. Additionally, authorities have suspended classes at all school levels in Metro Manila through at least March 14.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Consider deferring nonessential travel to areas with movement restrictions until authorities lift precautionary measures. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Avoid any demonstrations as a precaution.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

 

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