By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the government should be “on guard against imports of exotic foods from China meant for consumption” to further prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.
Garbin, representative of Ako Bicol Party-list, said exotic foods from China are among his concerns, considering that those delicacies are in demand among the Chinese mainlanders residing in the Philippines
“There could be a need for much stricter phytosanitary and biohazard measures,” said Garbin.
Exotic Chinese delicacies such as bats and pangolins are potential carriers of the Wuhan coronavirus, according to a by the Agence France-Presse.
Bats are known carriers of the latest strain of the deadly disease, which has infected at least 31,000 people and killed more than 630 worldwide, mostly in mainland China where the outbreak originate.
Garbin also cited the need for “faster data exchange, with necessary data security measures, on passenger manifests of airlines, buses, and interisland ships, as well as guest bookings in hotel and other tourism facilities.”
He also noted how buses and sea ferries “still use manual (handwritten) means of creating passenger manifests.”
“Faster access to passenger manifests and details would make contact tracing much better than what we have now,” Garbin added.