AirAsia cancels PH flights to Taiwan amid novel coronavirus travel ban

Robie de Guzman   •   February 11, 2020   •   1218

MANILA, Philippines – AirAsia on Tuesday, February 11, announced the cancellation of its flights between the Philippines and Taiwan in compliance with the Philippine government’s expanded travel restrictions to China and its regions that were affected by the outbreak of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

In an advisory, the AirAsia said that flights going Taiwan (Taipei and Kaohsiung) are now cancelled until further notice.

The airliner previously cancelled flights from the Philippines to and from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao until March 2020.

AirAsia guests affected by the flight cancellations and travel restrictions may choose from the following options:

  • Move flight: One-time flight change to a new travel date on the same route within 30 calendar days beginning 29 March 2020 from original flight time without additional cost, subject to seat availability. Applicable for guests affected by cancelled flights and travel restrictions imposed.
  • Credit account: Retain the value of your fare in your AirAsia BIG Loyalty account for future travel with AirAsia. The online credit account is to be redeemed for booking within 90 calendar days from the issuance date for your travel with us. The actual travel dates can be after the expiry date as long as our flight schedule is out. This is applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.
  • Full refund: Obtain a full refund to your original payment method for the amount equivalent to your booking. Applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.

AirAsia said guests whose flights fall into the above date range can obtain a full refund in the amount equivalent to that booking in the form of original payment. Refund requests can be made with AVA at support.airasia.com. 

For bookings made through travel agents including online travel agents, refund requests are to be made via the respective travel agents.

AirAsia also strongly encourages its guests to update their contact details to ensure that they receive timely notifications.

The airline company’s action follows the Department of Health’s announcement Monday that Taiwan is covered in the expanded travel ban in an effort to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.

Hong Kong imposes 14-day travel ban vs. Philippines, India, Pakistan over mutant COVID strain

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Hong Kong government issued a temporary travel ban on flights from neighboring India, Pakistan, and the Philippines after reports of the presence of a specific COVID-19 strain in these countries.

This, after the Hong Kong government implemented on April 14 the tightened flight-specific suspension mechanism along with the new place-specific flight suspension mechanism.

The 14-day travel ban, which will take effect Tuesday (April 20), applies to all people from the said countries which the Hong Kong government considered as ‘extremely high risk.’

“With confirmed cases involving the N501Y mutant strain detected for the first time in the community in Hong Kong, for prudence’s sake, the Government has applied the criteria of the newly implemented place-specific flight suspension mechanism retrospectively for 14 days on places where there had been imported cases confirmed by arrival tests that carried the N501Y mutant strain,” the Hong Kong government said.

“India, Pakistan, and the Philippines all had seven-day cumulative number of relevant cases that reached the relevant criteria in the past 14 days, and the Government will therefore invoke the place-specific flight suspension mechanism for these three places,” it added.

Those who came from the said countries but are already quarantined in Hong Kong must get tested on their 26th day in the city under emergency measures.

Those who have traveled to these three countries in the last 21 days as well as those who stayed for more than two hours on the day of boarding will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong.

Phl extends travel ban; allows aliens with travel exemption

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced that foreigners who were given entry documents prior to the implementation of last month’s travel ban may now enter the country.

In an advisory issued by the Bureau, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreigners with entry exemption documents issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before March 22 are now allowed to enter the country amid an extension of travel restrictions to April 30.

The revised rule is pursuant to the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Morente said other foreign nationals are still prohibited from entering the Philippines and that the Balikbayan privilege for former Filipinos remains suspended.

“The foreign parents, spouse, and children of Filipinos may enter the country, provided they are traveling with the Filipino principal, and have a valid entry visa,” he said on Sunday (April 18).

Based on the IATF’s policy, aliens with valid entry visas currently allowed to enter the country include:

* Diplomats and members of international organizations with valid 9(e) or 47(a) (2) visas;
* Those involved in medical repatriation endorsed by the DFA and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); and
* Seafarers with 9(c) visa for crew change; and (4) those with emergency, humanitarian and analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) or his authorized representative.

Morente said travel exemptions are without prejudice to the mandate of the BI to conduct strict screening and formalities on all arriving foreigners.

Aliens not traveling with Filipino kin not allowed to enter PH during travel ban — BI

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday (April 8) announced anew that foreign parents, spouses and children of Filipino citizens cannot enter the Philippines if they are not traveling with the latter.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente reiterated that said existing guidelines on international travel set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) do not allow the entry of foreign parents, spouses, and children of Filipinos if they are traveling alone.

Also, said foreigners should possess valid visas secured in the country’s foreign posts abroad to be able to enter the country.

Morente added that the Balikbayan privilege, which allows the visa-free entry of foreign spouses and children of Filipinos, remains suspended.

The reminder was issued following reports that a handful of aliens were denied at the airports for attempting to enter the country without their Filipino spouse, children, or parent.

Morente stressed that airlines are directed to ensure that only foreigners eligible to enter the country during the implementation of the travel restrictions are allowed to board their Philippine-bound flights.

The Philippines reimposed a ban on the entry of foreigners last month amid the resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The ban, which started last March 22, remains in effect until April 21.

Aside from prohibiting the entry of foreigners, the IATF also ordered a reduction in the number of inbound international travelers to only 1,500 a day.

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