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PAL cancels flights between Philippines, China

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Sunday announced it will cancel all flights between Manila and China in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte's directive of a temporary travel moratorium on tourists from the epicenter of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) outbreak.

In an advisory, PAL said all flights between Manila and Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Quanzhou (Jinjiang) and Macau will be cancelled effective immediately until February 29.

"We are constrained to cancel these flights in compliance with the February 2, 2020 directive of the President of the Philippines and the related Order of the Philippine Civil Aeronautics Board, which aim to protect the Philippine public by helping to contain and neutralize the spread of the novel coronavirus," PAL said.

The temporary ban includes any nationality, except Filipino citizens and holders of Permanent Resident Visa issued by the Philippine Government, who come directly from China and its special administrative regions or who had been to China and its SARs within 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines.

The directive also prohibits Filipinos from traveling to China and its SARs and requires a 14-day home-quarantine for Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa holders, including PAL flight and cabin crew members who come from China and its SARs.

"These new entry and exit restrictions compel us to cancel flights, and thus we seek the cooperation and understanding of our passengers whose travel plans will be affected," PAL said.

The following options are available for affected passengers:

1. Refund tickets with service fees waived
2. Rebook our journey, with rebooking services fees waived, once the travel bans are lifted flights to and from China, Hong Kong and Macao are reinstated

"We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your kind understanding," it said.

Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III confirmed the second novel coronavirus case in the country as well as the country's first death from the illness. It is also the first 2019-nCoV ARD death outside China.

The death toll from the illness has reached 304 in China and one in the Philippines. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/BM, GMA News