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.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will implement a 50-50 work scheme among personnel who are based at the national headquarters in Camp Crame.
This is due to the rising number of PNP personnel who have become patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.
The 50-50 work scheme would use 50 percent or the first batch of personnel to go on duty at the administrative office until April 19 while the second batch will go on duty from April 20 to May 3.
According to a memorandum issued on April 4, the heads of offices/units with essential functions shall determine the work scheme applicable to the personnel, as long as they should observe a 14-day self-quarantine/isolation as part of the PNP’s health protocol.
“Maaaring magpatupad sila ng kani-kanilang scheduling para hindi naman maapektuhan ang ating normal functions,” said PNP Spokesperson Bernard Banac.
Meanwhile, police personnel who are aged 45 years old and above will have to be pulled out from the checkpoint areas.
“Mas vulnerable sila sa COVID-19 (They are more vulnerable to COVID-19),” Banac said.
The PNP will also launch Admin Support to COVID-19 Task Force (ASCoTF) to ensure an organized and speedy logistics, response, and development of frontliners.
The PNP has already recorded 19 police personnel that tested positive for COVID-19 with two deaths.
The total number of persons under monitoring (PUMs) in the PNP has already reached more than 1,300. — AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital in London on Monday (April 6) suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, but Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.
Johnson, 55, had been isolating in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus last month, was taken to hospital on Sunday night because he still had a high temperature and his doctors felt he needed additional tests.
Meanwhile, Britain entered its third week in lockdown with authorities warning they will have to impose further restrictions on outdoor exercise if people continued to flout rules designed to curb transmission of the virus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “unbelievable” to see a small minority flouting the government’s advice to maintain social-distancing.
Hancock said if people did not follow the rules, which allow people to walk, run or cycle outdoors once a day but not sunbathe, he would have to ban exercise of all forms outside the home.
He said the timetable to ease restrictions – the lockdown exit strategy – could only be agreed once the spread of the coronavirus had been brought under control.
Other European countries such as Italy and France have imposed tougher restrictions on people leaving their homes. (REUTERS CONNECT)
MANILA, Philippines – Frontline health workers will now receive an extra financial aid from the government as additional compensation for their service in the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
President Rodrigo Duterte, through Administrative Order Number 28, directed all government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations and the local government units (LGUs) to provide public health workers with one-time COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance equivalent to 25% of their basic salary.
Those qualified for the said benefit include public health workers who are in active service under the enhanced community quarantine – regular, contractual, casual or part-time health workers; those under contract of service or job order arrangement like barangay health workers who are assigned in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
The one-time special risk allowance will be prorated based on the number of days a health worker has served starting March 17, 2020. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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