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PH Experts Warn Against Buying Ukay-Ukay, Surplus Products Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

A heightened alert status has been activated on food and non-food imports such as used clothing, known locally as “ukay-ukay”, coming from China and other countries with confirmed cases of the deadly novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said on Wednesday, January 29.

BOC Assistant Commissioner Vincent Maronilla said the bureau is guarding against the importation of food products without license and permit from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Health’s (DOH) Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

He said the bureau, through coordination with partner custom authorities all over Asia, has also started intercepting some exotic animals after scientists confirmed that pneumonia-like disease is zoonotic or transmitted from animals.

A directive has also been issued to customs personnel to be in complete protective gear when conducting the initial examination for imported food items.

Non-food products, including used clothing, have been placed on heightened alert as the bureau continues to coordinate with the health department and other experts.

“The intelligence and enforcement groups of the Bureau of Customs are on full alert guarding against all items, not just food items, by which we coordinate with the DOH and the DA that might be a carrier or a source of carrying these diseases other than actual humans,” Mr. Maronilla said during the economic press briefing Malacañang.

Individuals can be exposed to nCoV through direct contact of a confirmed case of nCoV, interaction with a health professional in a facility taking care of confirmed nCoV case, and visiting the live animal market in Wuhan, according to the DOH.

Currently, the extent of human-to-human transmission of nCoV is unknown and the DOH has yet to consult with experts to determine if nCoV can be transmitted through fomites such as clothes, utensils, and furniture.

“We’re now looking at critical items that can carry this virus. We’ve already identified products that we put on high alert. Our risk management has been alerted to put them on all red flags,” Mr. Maronilla said.

Mr. Maronilla said the bureau is also asking the health department to provide a list of critical non-food items to guard against.

“It doesn’t hurt that we be vigilant about them,” Mr. Maronilla added, stressing that the importation of used clothing is also prohibited under the law.

“It is really illegal to import used clothes. We continue to seize them regularly but now we’re on heightened alert. If it used to be No. 3 on our priorities, we now give it a higher priority,” he added.

Republic Act 4653, signed on June 17, 1966, prohibits the importation of used clothing and rags to safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation

Those found guilty of violating the law can face imprisonment ranging from two to five years and are required to pay up to PHP20,000.

The used clothing confiscated is expected to be burned in the presence of officials from the Department of Finance and Office of the President, according to the law.


Meanwhile, Mr. Maronilla admitted that the nCoV would definitely have an impact on the economy as China is currently the Philippines’ top trading partner.

“You all know there could be economic effects for this one. China is our biggest trader. A big chunk of the volume come into the Philippines, the source of which is China. Not just because they’re China products but because some countries actually have their factories in China,” Mr. Maronilla said.

“There could be a slowdown in the imports coming from China because countries now like the US and others are actually not just thinking of a ban of tourists coming in, we don’t know yet how this virus is being carried if they can be carried in items that are going to be imported then I think our priority is the safety of our citizens,” he added.

The nCoV, which is believed to have an incubation period of two to 14 days, originated in Wuhan City in Hubei province.

Cases have also been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, France, Germany, United States, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.

Source: PNA
PH Experts Warn Against Buying Ukay-Ukay, Surplus Products Due To Coronavirus Outbreak PH Experts Warn Against Buying Ukay-Ukay, Surplus Products Due To Coronavirus Outbreak Reviewed by Yen The Explorer on January 30, 2020 Rating: 5

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