By Addison Pascua


Amid the threat of the monkeypox virus, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday, May 23, rejected proposals to shut down the country’s borders to counter the possible entry of the disease.

In an interview with GMA’s Balitanghali, Duque said imposing travel bans to countries with existing cases of monkeypox virus is not yet necessary at the moment. 

“Yung pagsasara ng borders or stricter border control, hindi pa yan dapat gawin sa ngayon, ano?” Duque noted.

“Unang-una, ito yung ating measures para sa COVID, ‘yung stricter surveillance, yung more stringent symptom screening,” he added.

According to Duque, who is in constant coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), the monkeypox virus is not similar nor infectious as the coronavirus disease and is not yet classified as a threat to public health.

“Kasi ito ang mode of transmission nito, direct physical contact. So tao sa tao, skin to skin. Pagka halimbawa, meron source yung bodily fluids, may exchange of bodily fluids, puwede din daw may sexual transmission,” the health secretary explained.

Duque, nonetheless, said he has already directed the Bureau of Quarantine to strictly monitor incoming travelers from countries that have monkeypox cases which include, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States of America (USA).

According to WHO, among the symptoms of the monkeypox disease are fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, body pains, and weakness.

As of May 21, there are nearly 100 confirmed cases of the monkeypox virus across the world. The United Kingdom has so far recorded the highest number of infections at 56.

Edited by Danfe Lean Grace R. Elopre