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BREAKING: Philippines lifts COVID-19 travel ban vs Taiwan

06:19 PM February 14, 2020

QUIET TERMINAL. Few travelers were seen at Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport following the cancellation of flights to and from Taiwan due to the expansion of the government’s ban on all travel to and from China, Hong Kong and Macau. Malacanang on Friday lifted the travel ban on Taiwan after its protest. —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government has decided to lift the travel restrictions imposed against Taiwan due to the COVID-19.

COVID-19 is the name given by the World Health Organization to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that originated in China.

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In a statement Friday, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) to lift the travel ban imposed upon Taiwan, effective immediately.

“Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” Panelo said.

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According to the Palace official, the lifting of travel restrictions for Taiwan has been “agreed by the members of the IATF by reason of the strict measures they are undertaking, as well as the protocols they are implementing to address the COVID-19.”

The Philippines banned all travel to and from China and its two administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, on Feb. 2 to stem the spread of then novel coronavirus. However, the Department of Health (DOH) clarified on Feb. 4 that the travel ban also covered Taiwan.

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Taipei then protested its “wrongful” inclusion and warned of possible countermeasures. It stressed that the Philippines was “misled” by the World Health Organization, which considers Taiwan as part of China.

The Philippines honors the so-called “One China policy” which declares Taiwan as part of China’s territory under the 1975 Joint Communique between the Chinese and Philippine governments.

Angelito Banayo, chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, earlier said that the lifting of visa-free entry privilege of Filipinos to Taiwan is among the reactive measures being considered by its government.

However, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the threat of lifting the visa-free privilege for Filipinos has nothing to do with the Philippines’ decision to lift the travel restrictions.

“It’s purely on public health and public safety,” Duque stressed.

The Task Force will also evaluate other jurisdictions, including Macau, for the possible lifting of the imposed travel ban after their submission of protocols against COVID-19. .

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Malacañang further stressed that “any resolution relative to travel restrictions in connection with the COVID-19 shall be subjected to regular review by the IATF.”

Edited by EDV

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: China, COVID-19, Malacañang, nCoV, novel coronavirus, Taiwan, Travel Ban
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