AirAsia cancels PH flights to Taiwan amid novel coronavirus travel ban

Robie de Guzman   •   February 11, 2020   •   214

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 

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.

PH travel ban on Singapore not justified at this time – Embassy

Marje Pelayo   •   February 25, 2020

SINGAPORE – Embassy officials believe there is no reason to impose travel restrictions against travelers from the city-state amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

Ambassador Joseph Yap in a briefing with reporters on Tuesday (February 24) said the Singaporean government has been implementing strict measures to protect its citizens, foreign workers and tourists from the infection.

“I do not believe that any travel ban or restrictions are justified at this time. In fact, as I have said, Secretary Locsin announced that he doesn’t support such move,” Yap said.

“Here in the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, we do not support or recommend such a move,” he added.

Nonetheless, Ambassador Yap assures that the Embassy is ready to provide the necessary assistance to any Filipino who would be affected by the outbreak and should the Philippine government orders repatriation of Filipinos when the situation worsens.

“In cases needed, we will be in coordination with the Department in Manila to work out all the details. But of course, we have actually a contingency plan in place that we can trigger if there is a need and we get the okay with Manila to start,” the officials said.

But at this point, Yap said, the situation in relation to COVID-19 remains under control given Singapore’s strict preventive and disease control capabilities.

“At this point in time, it is less likely a scenario to happen,” he noted.

The Embassy, as always since the outbreak of the virus, reminds the Filipino community to practice and observe proper hygiene, strengthen the immune system and avoid crowded places if possible to prevent contracting the disease.

As for the Filipino coronavirus patient in Singapore, the Embassy said the patient is still under observation for coronavirus although the person’s condition remains stable. MNP / Mary Jo Maleriado

Hukou Waterfalls scenic spot officially open to public amid epidemic

Jeck Deocampo   •   February 24, 2020

The spectacular Hukou Waterfalls, which sits on the border between north China’s Shanxi Province and northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, was officially open to the public on Monday after being closed for a month due to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.

Monday is the traditional “Dragon Head-raising Day”, which falls on the second day of the second month on the Chinese lunar calendar.

The dragon was traditionally regarded in China as the deity in charge of rain, a key element in ancient agriculture. Dragon Head-raising Day signals the start of ample rain for spring crops and is considered an auspicious day.

Affected by the melting snow in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, the Hukou Waterfalls has resumed its momentum of rushing and roaring after a winter. The huge volume of water rushing down in this section of the Yellow River forms a spectacular waterfall group. As the water flow is mixed with the rapid fall of sand, it has created deafening noise and immense water mist, forming a magnificent scene.

In order to effectively prevent and control the coronavirus epidemic and to ensure the safety of tourists, Hukou Waterfalls administrators will implement mandatory inspections and real-time control of the total number of tourists entering the scenic spot, and ask tourists to enter it in different periods of time.

“We have standardized the registration of our staff members who are back to work and formulated a detailed epidemic prevention work plan. We will let our staff have meals separately and have also purchased sufficient quantities of epidemic prevention materials,” said Dou Feng, head of the Communist Party Affairs Department at Hukou Waterfalls Culture and Tourism Co., Ltd.

To pay tribute to the front-line medical workers against the epidemic, the Hukou Waterfalls will be open to medical workers nationwide for free from Monday to the end of the year.

The Hukou Waterfall is the largest along the Yellow River and the second largest in China. Its name, which means “mouth of a kettle” in Chinese, derives from its resemblance to water pouring down from a huge kettle.

BI lifts departure travel ban on HK, Macau

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 19, 2020

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has lifted the departure travel ban for Filipino overseas workers (OFWs), students, and permanent residents bound for Hong Kong and Macau.

“This is a welcome development for our kababayan who wish to return to their work abroad,” according to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

He announced the lifting of the ban covers all Filipino nationals who are holders of working visas, student visas, and permanent resident visas both in Hong Kong and Macau. This also includes their foreign spouse and children.

However, he clarified that tourists who wish to go to the said countries are still banned from traveling.

“The ban on Filipinos going to both countries as tourists is still in effect,” he said.

READ: Filipino workers can now return to Hong Kong, Macau despite coronavirus travel ban

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier announced that Filipinos may return to their jobs despite the travel ban being implemented on China and its territories due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).—AAC


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