MANILA, Feb 26, 2020, The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Filipinos planning to explore South Korea might have to unpack their luggage for now as the government enforced Wednesday a temporary ban on Filipino tourists going there, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Malacañang said the interim travel restriction was imposed as a protective measure against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which cases spiked white rapidly in South Korea in the past few days.
But presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Filipinos residing in South Korea and those who study and work there are exempted from the ban, provided that they sign a declaration signifying their knowledge of the risks of traveling to that country.
“Bawal lahat ng tourist na pupunta roon ng South Korea (All Filipino tourists going to South Korea won’t be allowed to leave) except for the three na binaggit ko (that I mentioned),” Panelo said in an ambush interview.
“The IATF [Inter-agency 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 therein,” Panelo said in the following press statement. “They are to execute and sign a declaration, signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved, prior to their travel.”
IATF on Emerging Infectious Disease has also approved restricting the entry of travelers from North Gyeongsang province in South Korea.
As of February 26, 2020, South Korea registered the most number of COVID-19 cases outside China with 1,146 people infected.