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DOH: Filipinos barred from traveling to South Korea amid COVID-19 scare

Shopkeepers wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus wait for a customer at Dongseong-ro shopping street in central Daegu, South Korea February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The Philippines has imposed a travel ban on all parts of South Korea amid the threat brought by the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health said on Wednesday.

During a press briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that “any travel to South Korea will be temporarily suspended.”

“Only permanent residents of South Korea, Filipinos leaving to study and OFWs returning for work will be allowed provided they sign a written declaration acknowledging the risks involved which will be complemented with health advisory pamphlets,” he added.

Earlier, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease approved the entry ban on travelers coming from the North Gyeongsang province of South Korea effective immediately.

He said that permanent residents, students studying there, and overseas Filipino workers are exempted from the travel ban.

READ: Philippines imposes travel ban to South Korean province amid COVID-19 threat

“Filipinos and the foreign spouses or children and holders of permanent and diplomatic visas will be allowed entry subject to existing screening and quarantine protocols,” Duque stated.

Duque said that they will also conduct a risk assessment within 48 hours to determine if the travel ban needs to be expanded to other parts of South Korea.

Earlier, South Korea reported 169 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, pushing to total tally to more than 1,000, with the numbers expected to rise as the government widens its testing.

READ: South Korea reports 169 new coronavirus cases, pushing total to 1,146: KCDC 


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