INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER TERMINAL SERVICES, INC. (ICTSI) has beefed up safety measures to protect the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) from the global outbreak of the avian influenza virus or bird flu. "We are closely coordinating with the health department’s Bureau of Quarantine to ensure that the MICT is safe from bird flu," said Francis Andrews, ICTSI Senior Vice President and MICT general manager, in a statement. "Since the MICT is an international transit point, we have to be sure that our terminal is safe and clear from transmission," he added. Quarantine officials have provided ICTSI implementing guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the virus as well as standard procedures in case of an outbreak. Similar with the preventive measures when SARS hit the region two years ago, no foreign vessels coming from or which passed through countries with reported outbreaks are allowed to berth at the MICT until health officials declare the vessel and its crew bird flu-free. Vessels coming from these countries are only allowed up to the Manila Bay basin area. A quarantine team is then ferried to the vessel and conducts medical examinations onboard. MICT’s Safety Unit is tasked to strictly implement the quarantine procedures as well as to monitor the occupational health situation in the terminal. Only suspected and isolated cases of bird flu have so far been reported in the Philippines. The country, according to the Department of Health, is still safe from bird flu.