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Coronavirus imperils Duterte's plan to cash in on China

Prolonged outbreak hits tourism; could knock 0.7% off the country's GDP

Passengers wearing face masks wait in the departure area at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on Feb. 5, after a case of the new coronavirus was confirmed.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Every February, travel agents in the Philippines are busy arranging Chinese visitors' itineraries and locals' upcoming summer trips, but this year has been different.

"They are still busy -- busy doing cancellations and refunds," said Ritchie Tuano, president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association, which has over 600 members. "This virus has severely affected the industry."

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