PRRD leaves lifting of travel ban to health authorities

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he will leave the decision to lift temporary travel restrictions to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and North Gyeongsang province in South Korea to health authorities.

I will leave it to the DOH (Department of Health) and the guys in charge of it, he said in a chance interview with reporters in MalacaAang.

Duterte is referring to the Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the primary team in charge of containing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid 19) in the country.

He said he has no plans to extend the travel ban to other parts of South Korea anytime soon.

As a lawyer, he said that it was only prudent to consult with health experts before making any decisions regarding travel restrictions.

He said that if it were up to him, he would not impose any travel ban for individuals who are healthy and have been cleared from the disease after undergoing the prescribed 14 day quarantine procedure.

For those who are healthy, they should come in. And for those who had been identified in other countries, then that is the time we can raise the objection of his entry, he said.

Last week, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said the Philippine government will reconsider the travel ban imposed on Hong Kong and Macao.

North Gyeongsang province in South Korea is the latest addition to the Philippine government's travel ban to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease in the country, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Filipino tourists are also banned from travelling to any part of South Korea, including Jeju Island.

However, the task force has authorized Filipinos to travel to South Korea provided that they are permanent residents thereof, leaving for study, or are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), he said.

They will only be allowed to travel to South Korea after they execute and sign a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risk involved prior to their travel, he added.


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