FEBRUARY 24, 2020 – The government’s inter-agency task force on emerging infectious diseases has to decide yet to impose a travel ban on South Korea where cases of coronavirus are on the rise, a Malacañang official said on Monday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the task force is still studying the possibility of recommending a travel ban to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019).
“Sa ngayon, wala pang desisyon,” Nograles said in a press briefing. “Ia-assess natin ‘yung situation at based on existing protocols natin at pati recommendation from [the World Health Organization, ‘yun ang magiging basis natin for making the decision if ever.”
South Korea has reported about 161 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 763 people.
Seven people had died from the disease, it added.
There are no reported Filipino cutizens that were infected in South Korea, Nograles said, citing information from the foreign affairs department.
Based on DFA records, there are approximately 60,139 Filipinos in South Korea.
There are about 1,681 Filipinos in Daegu, the epicenter of COVID outbreak in South Korea and about 2,608 Filipinos in North Gyeongsan Province.
The DFA said there is a total of 4,289 Filipinos in the most affected areas in South Korea.
“South Korean government has been doing everything they can to contain the epidemic and control the situation,” Nograles said.
The Philippine embassy in Seoul also released an advisory for Filipinos working in the East Asian country, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ed Meñez said.
“Number 1 of course, sundin ang patakaran ng Korean government with regards to how they should behave during this heightened alert,” he said.
“Mayroon din silang sinabi na as far as movement of Filipinos… lahat ng non-essential travel, kung pwedeng limitahan na lang at huwag dumalaw sa malalaking public gatherings,” Meñez added.
The coronavirus disease already killed 2,442 and infected 76,936 people in China alone. Outside China, there have been more than 1,400 cases in 28 countries, global health authorities said.
As a precautionary measure, President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a travel ban on China.
The government has also removed travel restrictions on Taiwan and partially removed the travel ban on Hong Kong and Macau to allow Filipino workers to return to their jobs. (Karen Macalalad/MM)
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