Duterte not keen on expanding ban of travellers from entire South Korea
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was not inclined to expand the travel ban on tourists from the entire South Korea who plan to go to the Philippines due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“No, I cannot do that. No country can do that. If the guy is healthy, why would you? You cannot do that,” Duterte said in an ambush interview, when asked if he would expand the travel ban earlier imposed on South Korea.
The Philippines has imposed a travel ban to travellers coming from the North Gyeongsang province of South Korea in a bid to contain the deadly virus upon the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Disease.
The IATF also approved the barring of Filipino tourists from going to South Korea, with the exemption of residents, students and overseas workers.
South Korea now has the most number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases outside China with over a thousand infections, mostly in the city of Daegu.
“There cannot be a total travel ban and you do not allow anybody to enter the… You are going to lock down the entire Philippines for that. It ain’t that way,” Duterte said.
“For those who are healthy, they should come in. And for those who have been identified from other countries, then that is the time that we can raise objection of his entry,” he added.
Meanwhile, Duterte said he would defer to the Department of Health (DOH) to lift the travel ban on China and its special administrative regions.
“I will leave it to the DOH and the guys who are in charge whether it would be safe or not, to do it. I am not a medical person. I am a lawyer,” Duterte said, when asked of the matter.
Travel restrictions remain imposed on China, Macau and Hong Kong with the exception of overseas workers on the latter two.