MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has lifted the travel restrictions it imposed on Taiwan due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Malacañang announced Friday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has resolved to lift the travel restrictions imposed upon Taiwan because of strict measures being undertaken by the Taiwanese government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Panelo said the lifting of the ban is effective immediately.
“Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” he said.
The Philippines this week included Taiwan in its travel restrictions initially imposed on China and its special administrative regions affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
A Philippine health official explained that Taiwan was included in the ban as the World Health Organization recognizes it as a part of China.
Malacañang later on said the temporary ban was imposed for the safety of the Filipino people and not due to politics.
The travel restriction was criticized by Taiwan, stressing that it had only 18 cases of the virus compared to some 60,000 in China.
Taiwan threatened to implement countermeasures against the Philippines, including scrapping visa-free privileges for Filipinos if it keeps the entry ban.
Several Filipinos currently working and those en route to Taiwan also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to lift the ban, expressing fears of losing their jobs.
Panelo also said the task force would also evaluate on whether to lift the ban on other Chinese jurisdictions given preventive protocols implemented against the deadly virus.
“The Office of the President likewise stresses that any resolution relative to travel restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 shall be subjected to regular review by the IATF,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino worker in Hong Kong who was placed under observation for contracting novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is expected to be released within the week after testing negative of the virus, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong said Tuesday.
In a Facebook post, the consulate said the infection of the Filipino migrant worker is the first reported case involving a household worker in Hong Kong.
Citing a report from the Hong Kong Health Department, the Consulate two more Filipinos were released Tuesday after completing their 14-day mandatory quarantine.
There were eight Filipinos placed on quarantine for possible infection of COVID-19. Seven have so far been released.
The consulate said the remaining Filipino undergoing quarantine is healthy and asymptomatic, and will possibly be released on Friday, February 28.
As of February 24, Hong Kong has 81 confirmed coronavirus cases with two fatalities as reported by China’s National Health Commission.
The commission also said that the death toll in mainland China has reached 2,663 with confirmed infections of 77,658.
Japan confirmed ten new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Monday, driving the number of infected patients up to 850.
Of the ten infected, four were in Hokkaido and one of them a teacher. Thus the local authorities decided to suspend classes of the school where the teacher works from Tuesday to March 6.
The total confirmed cases in Tokyo Prefecture reached 32, including three new confirmed cases on Monday.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Monday that a staff member of the Ministry and a quarantine officer who worked at the cruise ship got infected.
So far, six civil servants, two quarantine officers, three staff members of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and a staffer of the Cabinet Secretariat, who worked on Diamond Princess cruise ship have been infected with the disease.
Japanese experts on Monday issued a statement saying the coming one to two weeks will be a critical time for the disease to spread rapidly or subside.
The statement also says confirmed cases without identified infection sources have emerged in several places, implying that the epidemic may speed up spreading and asks the people to avoid gathering. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)
In his first visit to Daegu since the outbreak began, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (February 25) that the government will “win the fight” against the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country rose to 893.
About 68 percent of South Korea’s cases have been linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Of 60 new cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located.
Last week the government decided to designate Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo County as “special care zones”.
Moon on Tuesday sought to reassure residents that the government was not considering locking down the area. (South Korea’s Presidential Office via Reuters Connect)
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