Aklan health authorities send back to Wuhan 80 Boracay-bound tourists

AKLAN, Philippines – Health authorities here repatriated Saturday, January 25, some 80 Chinese tourists who were among a group onboard a plane which left Wuhan, China just before a total lockdown was imposed on the city known as the epicenter of raging coronavirus epidemic.

For its part, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has also suspended airline operations between Wuhan and the Philippines on Thursday, January 23. 

Hours before the restrictions of Philippine and China authorities though some 135 passengers onboard a Royal Air Charter flight arrived Thursday morning at the Kalibo International Airport  from Wuhan.

They were all bound for Boracay Island and were scheduled to return to China on January 30.

While those identified as from Wuhan were repatriated Saturday, the rest of the group were allowed to stay in Boracay until Monday, January 27.

Despite high-level monitoring and surveillance measures  by Aklan authorites, the presence in Boracay of tourists from China has triggered alarm and public anxiety in the province.

Airports and ports remained on alert as quarantine officers enhanced temperature screening of passengers from other countries to contain the coronavirus threat.

 Last week, 3 Chinese citizens with no travel history to Wuhan were examined in Aklan provincial hospital after they experienced flu-like symptoms on arrival at Kalibo airport. A flight attendant also sought medical help after arriving at Kalibo airport from Wuhan. She was self-quarantined after manifesting the symptoms.

Provincial Health Officer I Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr. said specimen samples were collected and transported to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for confirmatory tests.

Health authorities in Aklan said the province had no confirmed cases of patients contracting of new identified coronavirus strain.

Cuachon also appealed to the public to stop spreading "fake news and unverified information" on coronavirus outbreak.

He urged the public to avoid close contact with live or dead animals, wash hands frequently and avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections. 

Common symptoms of fast-spreading virus include sore throat, fever and breathing difficulties.  – Rappler.com

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