Duterte Extends Temporary Travel Ban on Visitors from China, HK, Macau
President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the temporary travel ban on tourists coming from any part of China and its Special Administrative Regions—Hong Kong and Macau, amid the rise of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease cases worldwide.
IMAGE Presidential Communications Operations Office
In a statement released by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on February 2, the president’s decision to extend the travel ban’s coverage is brought upon the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
On January 31, Duterte first issued the temporary travel ban that only prohibited visitors from Wuhan City and the entirety of Hubei province in China—the ground zero of the newly-emerged deadly virus.
The extended temporary travel ban covers all visitors coming from any part of China, Hong Kong, and Macau, regardless of nationality.
This directive exempts Filipino citizens and holders of Permanent Resident Visa issued by the Philippine government who within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, has been to the aforementioned places.
The said ban, however, requires Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa holders coming from any place in China and its Special Administrative Regions to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Filipinos are also banned indefinitely from traveling to said places.
Aside from the temporary travel ban, the Philippine Foreign Service Posts also temporarily suspends the issuance of visas to foreign nationals directly coming from and has been to China, Hong Kong, and Macau effective immediately.
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Following the travel ban, the Civil Aeronautics Board ordered all airlines operating to and from the Philippines to fully and immediately comply with the president’s directive.
Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Philippines have announced the cancellation of flights to China, Hong Kong, and Macau until March, while Philippine Airlines reduced flights between Manila and China to over 50 percent starting February 1.
IMAGE RJ Alipio
The 2019-nCoV is a new strain of coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, which causes mild symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and breathing difficulties.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” on January 30. As of February 2, WHO identified 14,557 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV worldwide.
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In the Philippines, there are currently 80 people under investigation for 2019-nCov with two confirmed positive cases, one of which died on February 1—the first reported fatality outside China.