Signage should be installed to warn Chinese visitors not to cross the border, one of the most powerful political leaders in one South East Asian country has said.
The Senate president pro tempore proposed fitting temporary signs that tell Chinese tourists “do not enter” while coming to the Philippines.
“I think it is time to put a temporary ‘do not enter sign’ on our doorstep for visitors from China,” President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said in a statement.
The remarks came after the country confirmed its first case of novel coronavirus was a 38-year-old female who came from Wuhan, China, through Hong Kong on Jan. 21. Rappler confirmed the woman, who no longer showed symptoms, has been treated in a state-run hospital since Jan. 25.
The Recto reiterated this was only a temporary disease prevention measure and would not become permanent.
“This is only during the duration of the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “Let us explain to them that we are not permanently closing our doors. This is not a permanent Great Wall.”
Recto believes the measure would be reasonable since Hong Kong authorities approved reducing high speed train and ferry services from mainland China. The Chinese regime also claimed it has quarantine 40 million people through restricting travel and confining them to their homes.
“Why can’t we do the same?” he said. “We will only be borrowing a page from their manual.”
The Recto also revealed the Chinese regime has restricted many citizens from the Philippines from traveling to parts of mainland China.
“If many of their people are not allowed to travel from point A to B in China, then why are we allowing travel from most points in China to all points in the Philippines?” he said.
Recto believes any temporary ban of visitors from mainland China would have a detrimental effect on his country, not China per se. However, the temporary financial loss is less damaging than if the coronavirus reaches epidemic levels outside of China.
“A temporary ban on Chinese visitors will harm them. On the contrary, it will harm us more, in tourism receipts forfeited,” he said. “[There will be] greater harm if the virus will be carried in here by them … when China sneezes, we get pneumonia. If that is the case, then an ounce of border control is worth a ton of cure.”
The Recto rejected any suggestion that he was being racist toward Chinese visitors.
“There is no hint of racism or xenophobia in this policy,” he said. “This is an assertion of the national wellbeing and an acceptance of the fact that our defenses and capacity to respond to a health emergency is not that strong.”