On Wednesday, the Philippines imposed travel restrictions on parts of South Korea and barred Filipino tourists from entering the East Asian nation because of rising cases of deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
Advertisement Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease approved the immediate entry ban for travelers coming from South Korea’s North Gyeongsang Province.
He also said tourists in Philippines would not be allowed to travel to South Korea as a whole.
Panelo said that those who are excluded from the travel ban are permanent residents, those who leave for study, and Filipino workers overseas provided they sign a document showing their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved before leaving.
There were 1,146 cases of COVID-19 in South Korea as of Wednesday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) reported.
Of this number, 134 were from the North Gyeongsang city of Daegu.
On Monday, the Philippine Department of Health said South Korea has no confirmed case of Filipinos infected with COVID-19.
South Korea raised its COVID-19 alert to the highest level on Sunday, due to the rapid increase in numbers of cases.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said the jump in new COVID-19 cases in South Korea, Iran and Italy is “deeply concerned.” The novel coronavirus started in Wuhan, China and spread across many countries.
In China, the death toll reached 2,715, its National Health Commission said Wednesday.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease in China prompted the government of the Philippines on February 2 to impose a travel ban on mainland China and its Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions.
Manila later included Taiwan in the travel ban but on 14 February this was eventually lifted.
The Philippines removed a travel ban for overseas Filipino workers, students and permanent residents bound for Hong Kong and Macau last week.