File photo.

(UPDATED) Bottles of hand sanitizer gels have been made available in strategic spots at the city international airport as Puerto Princesa and the rest of the province stiffen safety measures against the entry of the coronavirus from China.

Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA) manager Engr. Florevic Sonota said face masks will also be available made upon request by travelers to protect themselves from the newly-discovered virus.

She said the hand sanitizers are provided at the counters.

“Sa ngayon hand sanitizers muna ang mapro-provide namin. Occasionally, may mga pasahero na nanghihingi ng mask kaya ‘yon muna ang ica-cater,” Sonota said Friday following an emergency meeting at the airport called by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on countering the entry of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Sonota said airline companies are also providing face masks and hand sanitizers for their ground staff.

“Yong nabili pa lang namin na [face masks] ay para sa staff pa lang namin muna. ‘Yong hand sanitizers ay may mga available naman kami dyan, ipalagay na namin ‘yan sa terminal,” she said.

Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) local head Dr. Carlos Reyes, Jr., also reiterated the importance of frequent hand washing and stressed that using hand sanitizers will have a huge contribution to health maintenance.

Hand washing, he said, is important during these key times when people are likely to get and spread germs.

“Practice frequent hand washing at saka use ng hand sanitizers. Actually, sa ibang lugar, welcome na welcome even to the public, generally nakakatulong ‘yon sa health, di lang dahil sa novel coronavirus,” he said.

Reyes explained that the maximum distance that a person with 2019-nCoV can spread its virus through coughing is 92 meters.

“Meron mode of transmission kasi ‘yong nCoV, let’s say droplet infection, bale uubo para manghawa siya. Hindi ‘yong maglakad lang salubong ay mahahawa,” he said.

Reyes said that aside from frequent hand washing, “coughing etiquette” should also be emphasized. People who cough and sneeze should cover their nose and mouth.

He said that wearing a face mask is also important regardless of the type. He said that the N95 face mask is good, but if it is not available, an alternative can be used such as the surgical mask.

PPIA area center manager Efren Nagrama said that they will use their televisions inside the airport to spread information regarding proper hygiene and others related to raising public awareness.

“Maglalagay tayo sa mga tv screens natin kung paano ang proper hand washing at para maisama natin itong mga importanteng bagay na kailangan malaman ng publiko kasi mahirap na. As part ‘yan ng awareness program ng airport,” he said.