Glan, the ‘Boracay of the South,’ bans Chinese tourists due to nCoV

GLAN, Sarangani (MindaNews / 09 Feb) — Touted as the “Boracay of the South” due to its powdery white sand beaches, this town, Sarangani’s major tourist destination, has banned beach resorts from accepting Chinese tourists as a preventive measure against the spread of the dreaded 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Glan Mayor Vivien Yap issued the directive as the four Chinese tourists who sneaked recently into town and were quarantined in isolation in Alabel municipality, the provincial capital, are being treated well.

Beach volleyball in Gumasa, Glan municipality, during the Sarangani Bay Festival (SarBay). File photo by Russel Delvo, Sarangani Information Office

“The municipality is incompetent to handle (2019-nCoV) cases, and having infirmary-level health care in the locality, urges resort owners not to accept guests especially coming from China,” she said in the order obtained by MindaNews on Sunday.

The mayor, a medical doctor, noted the temporary ban against Chinese and other tourists with travel histories in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau was also in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order in the wake of the 2019-nCoV global emergency crisis that has spread to other parts of the world.

MindaNews sought the reaction of Davao Chinese Consul General Li Lin but he has yet to respond as of Sunday evening.

The death toll from the 2019-nCoV surpassed 800, mostly in China as of Sunday.

The confirmed cases hit at least 34,886, including in 24 other countries, the World Health Organization said Saturday.

In temporarily banning Chinese tourists to her town, Yap cited Section 16 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, which grants local government units the power to exercise measures for the general welfare of their constituencies.

Yap directed the local police to set up checkpoints to prevent Chinese tourists from entering the municipality.

The four quarantined Chinese nationals, including a minor, were spotted in a beach resort in Gumasa, Glan’s white beach coastline, on February 2.

They were brought to the Dangerous Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center  in Barangay Kawas in Alabel town on February 6, for quarantine.

The P350-million, 150-bed capacity drug treatment facility, which was donated by the Chinese government, has no in-patient clients at the moment.

Sarangani Governor Steve Solon backed the decision of Glan officials to close the town to Chinese tourists.

The action of Mayor Yap is “just prudent,” the governor said in a statement.

Solon said the four Chinese nationals being held as “persons under monitoring” (PUM) are being “well-taken care of.”

They are given meals three times a day, are staying in an airconditioned room with bed sheets and pillow cases, and have access to television, he added.

Solon said they are abiding with the quarantine protocol of the Department of health to allow the PUMs to roam within a 100-meter radius from their room.

They are in a secluded area and they cannot run the risk of infecting others, the governor said. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)