The local government of Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) has implemented a temporary ban on Chinese and other Asian nationals to tour around the island.
This was confirmed by Igacos Information Officer Michael Anthony Homez in a phone interview on Thursday morning.
Homez said Mayor Al David Uy immediately released the said statement after the arrival of at least 79 Chinese nationals coming from Jinjian, China on Wednesday.
He said Mayor Uy got alarmed because these Chinese nationals might visit the island city which the latter said is not ready for the Novel Coronavirus (NCoV).
“Mao to, iyang gikahadlukan nga mo adtog Samal katong 79 ka buok ( He (Uy) was just afraid that those 79 nationals will go to Samal),” he said.
The 79 Xiamen Air passengers have been cleared after going through NCoV symptom tests.
Homez clarified that the local government unit might be accused for discrimination but explained that it was the most prudent thing to do to protect the welfare of the constituents.
Igacos does not have hospitals equipped to handle quarantine and isolation of the dreaded virus.
He said the said statement is directed to all tour operators since all foreign nationals will usually go to them if they want to visit Igacos.
“Willing si Mayor, for the meantime, I-sakripisyo ang tourism industry. Kay kung masudlan sa Coronavirus ang Samal, both ang tourism industry ug ang katawhan sa Samal ang mag-suffer (The Mayor is willing to sacrifice the tourism industry because if their city will be infected with Coronavirus, both the tourism industry and people of Samal will suffer the blow), ” he said.
Homez also bared that prior to the temporary ban, Igacos City Health Office has monitored five Chinese nationals who are still staying in one of the resorts in the island.
He said the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council will convene next for the appropriate measures that need to be implemented against NCoV in their area.
Homez said their mayor will also meet the Department of Tourism on the said temporary ban of the said foreign nationals in their city.