President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night called on the public to refrain from sowing hate against Chinese nationals after two cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) were confirmed in the country.
“China has been kind to us. We can only also show the same favor to them. Stop this sinophobia,” Duterte said in a press conference in Malacañang.
Duterte said it was “not good” to show hostility or aversion to Chinese nationals simply because it is where the virus originated from.
“Ngayon (Now) they are blaming the Chinese na galing sa (coming from) China. It could always incubate in some other places. It happened in China, at least the first. But that is not the fault of anybody. Not the Chinese, not the Filipino, no one,” Duterte said.
He also pointed out that there were “so many” Filipinos working and living in China. Nearly 300,000 Filipinos are in China, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“But even if there are none, we are a community of nations. We cooperate,” Duterte said.
“We can assure the Chinese government that we too can help,” he added.
On Sunday, Duterte imposed a temporary travel ban on all visitors coming from China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.
He also banned Filipinos from traveling to China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Asked if his temporary travel ban would extend to other countries, Duterte said his decision would depend on the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We will go by the recommendations that will be given out by the WHO. We cannot act on our own,” Duterte said.
Currently, the Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed two cases of nCoV in the country, a 38-year old woman from Wuhan in Hubei province, China and her companion, a 44-year-old man.
DOH said the male patient was the first reported death due to the deadly virus outside of China.
The 2019-nCoV, which originated in Wuhan in Hubei province, China, has infected over 17,000 people and killed around 362 people. PNA.GOV.PH