Direct flights between the cities of Davao and Jinjiang City in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian have been canceled due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) health emergency, China’s top diplomat in Mindanao confirmed.
Consul General Li Lin of the Davao Consulate General’s Office said that XiamenAir issued a travel advisory canceling the air route until further notice due to the current pneumonia epidemic caused by the new coronavirus and to ensure public health and safety.
Li said in a statement that “friendly consultations” were held by the consulate, City Mayor Sara Duterte’s office and XiamenAir representatives following the coronavirus outbreak in China.
Initially, the parties decided that the Jinjiang-Davao-Jinjiang flights on Feb. 2 and 5 would still be served. But it was later announced that XiamenAir decided to cancel all the Jinjiang-Davao-Jinjiang flight for the entire February.
XiamenAir serves the air route twice a week starting late 2018, following the signing of the sisterhood agreement between Davao and Jinjiang to boost bilateral, tourism and trade ties.
The consul bared that the Jinjiang inbound flight to Davao last Jan. 29 carried 79 passengers. The consul assured that all were screened and tested for any symptoms or manifestations of the novel coronavirus.
“All inbound passengers and crew were screened by both the quarantine departments of Jinjiang
International Airport and Francisco Bangoy Davao International Airport. These were some of the precautionary measures conducted,” the consul said.
The Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) has also assured that all were monitored and checked before entering the city.
“We make sure that our personnel checked all of the people coming in of the city. As much as possible we are keeping an eye to all people who are from outside the city. If there are any symptoms, we directly send them to the hospitals for monitoring,” BOQ medical officer Dr. Wilson Lim said during a press conference last Friday.
“Rest assured that the city is safe as we are on tight security measures and our team is closely monitoring all movements in the entry points of the city,” he added.
The Department of Health, meanwhile, is still urging the public to remain calm and engage in proper hygiene to prevent any sickness from entering one’s system.
Li earlier told MindaNews that the Chinese government requested travel agencies to stop organizing group tours to Davao starting January 27 until further notice in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus in Mindanao.
The coronavirus death toll in China, which originated in Wuhan in the central Chinese province of Hubei, has surpassed 300 and over 14,000 infections in the different parts of the globe as of Sunday morning.
The Philippines confirmed its second case of the new virus Sunday morning, involving a 44-year-old man from Wuhan who died Saturday, the first known fatality outside China. (with reports from Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)