BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
SOLOMON Islands students living and studying in the Philippines are safe despite the fear and anxiety to move around freely as the home of the deadly virus is 1898km (1,080miles) from them.
Though there are still no confirmed cases in the Philippines, there has been a double threat to the students as they still lived the horrific scene of the Taal Volcano, which erupted on the 12th of January, spewing ash and dust all over, and then the Coronavirus alert.
However, online reports cited from CNBC confirmed that the Philippines have announced Tuesday it will temporarily suspend issuing visas upon arrival (VUA) for Chinese nationals amid concerns of a coronavirus outbreak.
“The decision comes amid an outbreak that Chinese officials said has already claimed more than 100 lives in China and infected more than 4,500 in the country.
“Multiple cases of the virus have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, France, and the United States,” CNBC reported.
Speaking to Sunday Isles from the Philippines, a third-year student on Mass Communication Victor Bobby Bosali said they are all safe as there is still not a confirmed case yet for the Philippines.
He said they all have to wear a face mask when going out to open places like markets or malls.
“We all have fear of moving around in the open, one has to wear a face mask when going to the mall or market.
“Right now, all the students were in their rented apartment in fear of moving around.
“Though there is still no confirm cases of the virus, we have to limit our time outdoors,” Bobby said.
He continued: “Some of the shops here are running out of face masks so we have to buy scarf-like masks from the market if we want to go out,” he added.
The third-year Mass Communication student, therefore, sends a message on behalf of the students to every parent back home not to worry saying that they are fine and well.
“We all just stay indoors and listen out for latest updates from the authorities here, but as I’m speaking, we are all good,” said Victor Bobby Bosali.
Also speaking to Sunday Isles, President of Solomon Islands Philippines Student Association (SIPSA), Aurthur Mola said China is not very far, as such he said the probability to spread the virus to the Philippines is very high as he urges his students to avoid going out to public places.
“As we all know the Philippines is not very far from China, as such the probability to spread the virus to the Philippines is very high. The population here is very high everywhere you go like malls, markets, streets are very crowded, therefore, and it’s not really safe for the students.
“As Solomon Islands Philippines Students Association president (SIPSA) my advice to my fellow students is to avoid going out too many public places like markets, malls, and even trains.
“All students were advised to wear a face mask while going to schools and other public places.
“Further actions will be taken upon the advice of the Philippines Department of Health (PDOH),” the SIPSA President said.
This week is their enrollment week for the third semester.