Philippines eases travel ban on South Korea as of March 6. Other restrictions, including travel ban to mainland China, remain in place.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 06 Mar 2020 04:46 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport restrictions, heightened security, enhanced health screenings; possible localized business disruptions, protests

Summary
The Philippine government has eased its travel restrictions to South Korea as of March 6; Filipinos are now allowed to visit South Korea, though restrictions remain for North Gyeongsang Province and Daegu. The measure, which is part of the authorities' attempt to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), exempts Filipinos who study or work in South Korea or are permanent residents of the country. Authorities require all citizens who are traveling to South Korea to sign a declaration signifying their understanding of the risks involved in visiting the country. Officials have also banned all foreigners who have been to North Gyeongsang Province and Daegu in the past 14 days from entering the Philippines. The measure exempts foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens, holders of Philippine permanent resident visas, and holders of Philippine government-issued diplomatic visas.

Authorities continue to ban foreign nationals who visited mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau within 14 days of travel to the Philippines. Officials have also barred Philippine citizens from traveling to the aforementioned locations, with an exemption for Filipinos who work in Hong Kong and Macau, until further notice. Officials require a 14-day quarantine period for Philippine citizens and permanent residents with recent trips to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Several airlines have suspended or reduced services between the Philippines and mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea. As of March 6, authorities are not considering a travel ban on Iran, Italy, Japan, and Singapore, but additional travel restrictions on countries with significant COVID-19 activity cannot be ruled out. The duration of the restrictions will likely depend on the course of the outbreak in China, South Korea, and other countries.

Local officials have limited transport in some cities. Reports indicate that authorities in several cities, such as Kibungan, Benguet Province, and Balbalan and Tinglayan, Kalinga Province, have restricted tourist entry due to COVID-19 concerns; it is unclear whether the measures apply to Philippine nationals. Heightened security - particularly checkpoints - is highly likely in the cities to monitor travel. The central government also deployed additional police officers in New Clark City, Tarlac Province, due to the quarantine of evacuated citizens from Japan. The measures may prompt localized business disruptions and demonstrations by residents in some areas.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Consider deferring nonessential travel to areas with movement restrictions until authorities lift precautionary measures. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks. Avoid any demonstrations as a precaution.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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