The Ports under the jurisdiction of the Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro, as some of the main entry points to the Misamis Oriental Province, have taken preventive measures in case that the new virus temporarily named as, “2019 novel coronavirus” (2019-nCoV) currently spreading in China reaches the Philippines.

Frontline personnel at the Ports of Cagayan de Oro (Baseport), Balingoan, and Benoni, Camiguin were advised to wear face masks during duty and as necessary, especially during the expected influx of passengers for the Lunar New Year. All PMO employees were further advised to practice frequent handwashing and maintain proper hygiene.

On January 23, 2020, the PMO’s Port Police Division (PPD) issued Port Advisory / Bulletin / Announcement (PABA) No. 002-2020, “Institution of measures re: Prevention of the Spread of Coronavirus,” that also enjoined the cargo handling operators, shipping lines and all other port stakeholders to institute the measure of providing the appropriate face mask to all its personnel in the ports. Furthermore, the Port Services Division and PPD shall coordinate closely with the Department of Health and Bureau of Quarantine. Security level of all the concerned ports shall remain at Security Level 1 with enhanced security measures.

To provide the passengers and all port users the basic information about the coronavirus (cause/s, signs, and symptoms, prevention), infomercial videos and tarpaulins are being shown and posted at the new Passenger Terminal Building and the Assessment, Billing and Collection Unit (ABCU) of the Baseport. The tarpaulins are soon to be distributed to the Terminal Ports of Balingoan and Camiguin.

The 2019-nCoV that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, is a new strain of coronavirus. Coronavirus is a large family of viruses, that include the common cold, and viruses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), according to the World Health Organization. 2019-nCoV can be transmitted from animal to person or infected human to others.

As of January 23, 2020, 2019-nCoV has killed 25 people and infected more than 830.

There is no confirmed case yet of the said virus in the country, according to the Department of Health.— by IMR Lam