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Philippines mulls expanding travel ban to South Korea

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By Prince Golez

The Inter-Agency Task Force for Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will discuss if it will impose a temporary travel ban on travelers from South Korea.

This came amid worsening coronavirus outbreaks in South Korea, which has reported at least 763 cases with seven casualties.

“Pag-uusapan ito sa task force. Isa ito sa mga topics na pag-uusapan. Ia-asses natin iyong situation. At based on existing protocols natin, pati recommendation from the WHO, iyon po iyong magiging basis natin for making a decision if ever ‘no,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Monday.

In a Palace briefing, Nograles said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) are in coordination with the South Korean government to monitor the situation as it evolves.

“So far, based sa ating mga kasamahan mula sa DFA pati sa DOH ay wala pa naman. But again, the DFA and the DOH and DOLE ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa ating mga counterparts doon sa South Korea para continuously ma-monitor natin iyong situation doon,” according to him.

For his part, DFA Assistant Secretary Ed Meñez said the Philippine Embassy in Seoul has advised Filipinos to closely monitor developments related to the coronavirus.

“Iyong embassy natin sa Seoul, naglabas na ho ng advisory sa mga Filipino communities natin sa South Korea with some advice na, well, number one of course, sundin iyong mga patakaran ng Korean government with regard to how they should behave during this heightened alert. That was issued,” said Meñez.

“And mayroon din ho silang sinabi na as far as movements of the Filipinos, kagaya ng mga advice sa mga ibang Filipino communities in other parts of the world, ay iyong lahat ng non-essential travel, kung puwede hong limitahan na lang po. At huwag na ho sigurong dumalaw sa malalaking public gatherings. And of course, to maintain the health procedures like washing of hands and use of masks kung kailangan ho,” he added.

No Filipino in South Korea has been reported infected by the virus.

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