Duque orders strict screening of inbound travelers vs monkeypox; rejects closure of borders

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday, 6 June said he ordered the enforcement of strict symptom screening of incoming travelers to prevent the entry of monkeypox into the country.,“I have ordered the BoQ (Bureau of Quarantine) to be very strict in enforcing symptom screening of travelers from endemic and non-endemic countries with risks of monkeypox,” Duque said.,He added that it would be “premature” for now to close our borders to countries that have reported cases of monkeypox.,“Because of our preparedness in the Covid-19 pandemic, we have learned a lot… but it is premature to be closing our borders to travelers from these endemic areas,” he said.,The statement came after Canada issued a travel notice to its citizens to take precautionary measures against monkeypox as the animal to human viral disease continues to spread across the globe.,It also warned its citizens abroad of potential delays returning home should they test positive for the viral disease, after it issued a level 2 notice which means travelers may be subject to procedures to limit the spread of monkeypox, such as isolation, should they become infected.,Canada has confirmed 81 cases of the disease, most of which were recorded in its second-most populous province of Quebec.,The Philippines is still waiting for an advisory from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its next plan against the viral disease, according to Duque.,“We are awaiting advice from the WHO because they are the ones who are providing us the latest information with regard to monkeypox,” he said.,He said that the country is currently implementing the four-door strategy to prevent the initial entry of monkeypox into the country.,“What we are doing now is the four-door strategy, (it is) no difference with Covid-19. We have  heightened border control, and surveillance,” he said.,The four-door policy of the government includes border control, active surveillance including testing and tracing, early isolation, and treatment of all those who fell ill with the disease.,There are no detected cases of monkeypox in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health.,So far, around 30 countries where monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease, with more than 911 confirmed or suspected cases mostly in Europe.,Monkeypox, which spreads through close contact and was first found in monkeys, mostly occurs in the west and central Africa and only very occasionally spreads elsewhere.