Tuesday 18 February 2020
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rappler - 4 days ago

Philippines lifts Taiwan travel ban

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government s inter-agency task force handling the novel coronavirus crisis has decided on Friday, February 14, to lift the travel ban imposed on Taiwan due to the virus.  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, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, referring to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.  Panelo said the lifting of the ban is effective immediately. Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa, Panelo said. Malacañang s announcement came 4 days after the Department of Health revealed that Taiwan was covered by the temporary travel ban imposed by the Philippines on mainland China and its special administrative regions to prevent the spread of the virus.  Last Monday, February 10, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, Taiwan was included because the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes it as part of China. Since Monday s announcement, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines has denounced the move, saying Taiwan was wrongly included in the ban.  The chairperson of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei warned that Taiwan could cancel visa-free privileges for Filipinos in retaliation to the ban.  Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy, has found itself increasingly caught up in travel restrictions aimed at China, where the outbreak has killed over 1,380 people and infected over 63,000, as of Friday. On Friday, Panelo said the inter-agency task force will also evaluate other jurisdictions, including Macau, for possible lifting of the travel ban.  Health officials in the Philippines have so far probed 455 patients for the novel coronavirus, including 3 confirmed cases. Two of the cases have since recovered, while one died due to severe pneumonia because of the novel coronavirus. – Rappler.com


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