SBMA steps up campaign to protect Subic from virus

File photo: A sanitary technician from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) sprays liquid disinfectant at the Subic main gate.

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has added disinfection of offices and public areas to its arsenal of measures to keep the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat at bay.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the Subic agency has started disinfecting facilities and buildings on Sunday in the wake of a confirmed local transmission of COVID-19

Eisma said the disinfection protocol here will be carried out by the SBMA Public Health and Safety Department initially in all SBMA offices and public areas using agents prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH).

“We will be disinfecting SBMA offices, especially the areas and surfaces most often touched by people who do business in our offices. But we also encourage business locators and other Subic stakeholders to do the same,” Eisma said.

“I call on all Subic stakeholders to support this measure because we all need to observe cleanliness and practice proper hygiene in face of heightened coronavirus threat in the country. We need to protect ourselves and keep the Subic community safe,” Eisma added.

President Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency after the DOH raised “Code Red, Sublevel 1” when it confirmed that a new COVID-19 patient did not have recent history of travel to other countries.

“Code Red, sublevel 1” was described as a “preemptive call to ensure national and local government, and public and private health-care providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”

A situation report from the World Health Organization on Sunday indicated a total of 105,596 confirmed cases in over 100 countries.

The DOH said over the weekend that the Philippines has 10 confirmed cases, including one fatality.

In Subic, the virus outbreak had prodded the SBMA to place its ports on heightened alert status as early as the fourth week of January when an epidemic was first reported in Wuhan, China.

Aside from the cruise ships and cargo vessels that regularly call on Subic, this special economic zone is also host to hundreds of foreign firms, as well as a few online gaming operators with Chinese workers.

Eisma reminded the public that other health safety protocols announced by the SBMA previously will remain in force in the Subic Bay Freeport.

These include the ban on entry of people, ships and aircraft coming from COVID-hit countries, as well as voluntary quarantine of those who recently traveled abroad and thermal scanning at Subic Bay Freeport gates for foreign visitors.

The Subic agency has also required foreign nationals applying for Alien Employment Permit to submit a medical certificate that he/she has no symptoms indicative of COVID-19 for the past 14 days.

Image credits: SBMA


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