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Cruise ship from Hong Kong to skip Subic stop amid nCoV alert


The cruise ship MV World Dream, which sailed into the country from Hong Kong on Monday, will no longer dock at the Port of Subic on Wednesday.

According to a report on "24 Oras", the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority made the announcement after Olongapo City residents led by Mayor Rolen Paulino protested.

"This particular batch of tourists, yung madadala nila dito sa atin bukas, medyo tingin ko, hindi naman po ganoon kalaki," Paulino said.

"Sa bigger picture po natin kasi safety naman po at buhay naman po ng mga mamamayan, mga Pilipino rin po naman ang pinoproteksyunan natin dito," he added.

The Olongapo City government also asked the SBMA to suspend the arrival of cruise ships at the Subic Bay Freeport while the threat of the novel coronavirus remained.

"Tumatayo tayo para sa kapakanan ng lahat. Ang isyu na ito, tayo ay tatamaan. Ayaw natin na yung mga anak natin, dahil sa takot, ay hindi na maipagpatuloy ang kanilang pag-aaral," business leader Charina Ticsay said.

"Hindi pag-alarma kundi paggising na buhay ng tao ay mahalaga," she added.

The SBMA has also placed the freeport—both the airport and seaport—on heightened alert due to the nCoV scare.

Precautions

However, the Health Department earlier said that precautions had been taken to prevent the the novel coronavirus from entering the country through either the ship's passengers or crew.

“This particular ship was supposed to have 4,000 tourists but mukhang nag-cancel most of them and they’re now only 780 passengers,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo explained.

“Before the ship left Hong Kong, all the passengers were screened. And onboard we have a quarantine officer also checking the passengers and they’re all healthy.”

There also would have been another quarantine station in Subic which would screen the passengers before they disembarked from the ship.

Domingo had also emphasized that the World Dream had been scheduled to stay in Subic for just six to 10 hours, and quarantine officers would do all they could to prevent any health hazard during the visit.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that passengers on the cruise ship were of 10 different nationalities, though most were Chinese.

There were also 15 Filipinos aboard the vessel.

The MV World Dream docked in Manila on Tuesday morning. — with a report from Dona Magsino/NB/DVM, GMA News

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