By Prince Golez
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday announced an expansion of the travel ban to countries with confirmed localized transmission of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Duterte made the announcement after raising the Covid-19 alert system to code red sub-level 2 as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouse and children, and holders of permanent resident visas and diplomat visas issued by the Philippine government, are exempted from the travel ban.
“‘Yung travel dito ang gustong pumunta hindi na tatanggapin lalo na kung ‘yung bayan nila has ordered a restriction sa travel. Mismo ‘yung bayan nila hindi pumayag na mag-travel sila tapos pupunta sila dito, hindi rin natin sila tanggapin. But ang Pilipino pati ‘yung pamilya niya — because they are Filipinos and this is their country, they are very much welcome to come back lalo na sa panahong ito if they want a more secure, comfortable place,” Duterte said.
The Philippines currently has a selective travel ban on China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea.