But now, it’s official. A travel ban to South Korea has been imposed by the Philippine government on February 26.
According to a report from CNN Philippines, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed that the travel ban has been imposed due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in South Korea.
As of this writing, Channel News Asia reported that the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tallied a total of 1,261 COVID-19 cases on February 26.
Mr. Panelo said that the decision was made during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force On Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED). In a statement, the task force said, “Any travel to South Korea will be temporarily suspended.”
However, some exceptions will be made. “Only permanent residents of South Korea, Filipinos leaving for study, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to work will be allowed, provided that they sign a written declaration acknowledging the risks involved which will be complemented with a health advisory pamphlet,” the task force said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Panelo added that people who are coming from North Gyeongsang Province or Gyeongbuk, including Daegu and Cheongdo County, where the spike in COVID-19 cases has emerged, will be barred from entering the Philippines.
The report added that the IATF-EID said that Filipinos and their foreign spouses or children, and holders of permanent resident and diplomatic visas will be allowed to enter the country, but are subject to existing screenings and quarantine protocols.
The presidential spokesperson also added that the situation will be assessed in 48 hours if it’s necessary to expand the entry ban to other parts of South Korea.
Mr. Panelo said, “The safety and security of Filipinos here and the outside the Philippines remain our primary concern. Our countrymen's welfare is foremost in our minds as concerned officials discuss updates and recommendations on the management of the coronavirus.”
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