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Philippines lifts travel ban to mainland China except Hubei

The Philippines has lifted the travel ban to mainland China except Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the lifting of the ban was adopted in a March 12, 2020 resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases (IATF).

Not all are covered by the lifting of the travel ban, however, the DFA said. Those covered are:

  • Returning OFWs who are able to present valid visas and/or work permits, overseas employment certificate, notarized and other relevant documents pertaining to their current employment in mainland China as may be required by immigration authorities;
  • Filipinos with permanent resident visas; and
  • Filipino government officials traveling to mainland China on official duty

The DFA said the following are excluded from the lifting of travel ban:

  • OFWs on first-time deployment to mainland China
  • Students
  • Dependents of OFWs
  • Tourists

The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 3,189 as of Friday last week, up by 13 from the previous day. All of the latest deaths were in Hubei and 10 of them were in Wuhan.

To date, the flu-like virus has infected 80,824 people in mainland China, authorities said. Globally, more than 138,000 people have been infected and over 5,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements.

The coronavirus disease outbreak in China had prompted the Philippine government on February 2 to impose a travel ban on mainland China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.

Manila later included Taiwan in the travel ban but this was lifted on February 14.

In late February, the Philippines removed the travel ban for Filipino overseas workers, students and permanent residents bound for Hong Kong and Macau. --KBK, GMA News