The Coronavirus outbreak continues to impact us all as new cases become known every day in different countries around the world.
Amid the outbreak, the Philippines’ transportation industry leads to cancellation of hundreds of flights, ship calls, a reduction in cargo volumes and passenger traffic for land, air and sea.
Manufacturing has also decreased exponentially not only in China but also in other countries affected by the pandemic. It is projected to slowly start improving over the next few weeks, and eventually to rise to a higher pace than is standard to compensation for this extreme drop in shipping and manufacturing.
Some routes affected include Cebu, Tagbiliran, Iloilo, Batangas, Puerto Galera, El Nido, Coron, Borcay, Camuigin and Bohol.
In prevention from spreading the coronavirus, the Philippine governments have imposed a travel ban on China, Hong Kong and Macau. Then later expanded and withdrew the travel ban on Taiwan.
To help airlines mitigate effect of the COVID-19 outbreak, the vice chairman of Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), Roberto Lim, states that aviation and travel industry supports 1.2 million jobs and contributes US $10B in gross value to the Philippine economy or 3.4% gross domestic product. Any slowdown will have an impact on the overall performance of the Philippines, Lim said.
It is projected that COVID-19 will eventually cause the rate and volume of shipments to shrink down in the first quarter of the year. Although it is difficult to predict the overall impact, shippers believe that container volumes are not likely to recover until late in the second quarter of 2020.
According to Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) officer-in-charge Narciso Vongson, Jr., a drop of sea passengers has been observed on certain routes following the ban on tourists who travelled from China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan by local government units and shipping companies.
Shipments from these areas must, however, follow certain protocols set by the Philippines Port Authority (PPA), including boarding by quarantine officers at the quarantine anchorage and no crew disembarkation.
Authorities are working on stronger measures against overcrowding in public buses to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra said in a media briefing coordinated with Jojo Garcia, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager, to remind the bus operators that cramming passengers is still allowed but later lifted.
Among the preventive measures from the Department of Health (DOH) and World Health Organization (WHO) to avoid the spread of the virus is to stay away from crowded places. According to the law, buses are not allowed to permit more passengers than their “registered carrying capacity” which should be indicated on both sides of the vehicle.
The announcement of the lockdown came after a failure to implement social distancing measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. Few weeks later after the start of outbreak, several malls across the various districts of Manila announced their closure for one month and some announced their mall schedules. Mayors met with mall owners to discuss ways to alleviate the impact of closures on employees who are mostly contractual daily wage earners.
Other cities declared a state of calamity or went into their own version of lock-down.