Philippines Imposes Travel Ban to South Korea Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
The Philippines has temporarily banned Filipinos from traveling to South Korea due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scare.
“Any travel to South Korea will be temporarily suspended,” Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press conference on February 26.
In a separate press briefing, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo also announced the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) approved the ban on travelers coming from the North Gyeongsang province of South Korea effective immediately. The ban means Filipinos could find it hard to come home to the Philippines if they are flying in from South Korea's North Gyeongsang province.
“With respect to other parts of South Korea, the IATF shall conduct a risk assessment of the situation in the aforesaid country within 48 hours to analyze whether it is necessary to expand the travel ban thereto,” said Panelo.
Persons exempted from the travel ban
Exempted from the travel ban are permanent residents, those leaving for study, and overseas Filipino workers provided they sign a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved prior to their travel.
South Korea has declared the "highest level" of alert as the country tries to contain the 2019 novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. "The COVID-19 incident faces a grave turning point. The next few days will be crucial," said South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a report by Channel News Asia.
Confirmed cases in South Korea have jumped to around 600—the highest number outside of China, not counting the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. Six people have died of the disease.
There are no confirmed reports of any Filipino infected with COVID-19 in South Korea, clarified the DFA advisory. Meanwhile, a total of 600 possible cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Philippines as of writing, with three confirmed.
This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.