Task force to discuss lifting of travel ban to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau – Duque
By Christia Marie Ramos
2020-02-14 09:50:16

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said a government inter-agency body will discuss on Friday afternoon an updated coverage of the country’s temporary travel ban to and from other countries affected by COVID-19.

In an interview with dzMM Friday, Duque said he would present to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases a risk assessment on Taiwan and  China’s special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau.

This to determine whether the country’s travel ban to and from these regions should now be lifted or remain enforced.

“So maglalabas ako ng mga graphs, hindi lang local risk assessment, kundi pati yung ating mga karatig bansa kagaya ng Taiwan at itong SAR na kung saan marami rin tayong mga kababayan diyan, mga OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” the health secretary said.

(I will release graphs (concerning COVID-19), not only local risk assessment, but we also have risk assessment on our neighboring countries like Taiwan and other SAR where there are many Filipinos and OFWs).

“Yung risk assessment mamaya, ipe-present ko sa inter-agency task force kung napapanahon ba na i-exclude natin yung Taiwan or yung Hong Kong o dapat ba nating i-include ang Singapore,” he added.

(I will present to the inter-agency task force the risk assessment to see if its time to exclude Taiwan or Hong Kong from the ban or if we should include Singapore).

Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) said Taiwan had been included in the Philippines’ temporary travel ban.

The ban covers visitors coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, and likewise bars Filipinos from traveling to these countries because of the COVID-19 threat.

DOH spokesperson Eric Domingo earlier explained that since the World Health Organization (WHO follows the One-China policy, Taiwan is included in the China travel ban.

But Taiwan had asked the Philippine government to immediately lift its travel ban, saying it was “wrongly included” in the order prohibiting all travel from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had also earlier asked the DOH to lift the ban for departing Filipino workers to Taiwan.

Edited by MUF

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