Philippines issues travel ban on South Korea as of Feb. 28. Other travel bans, precautionary restrictions remain in place.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 28 Feb 2020 08:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of Feb. 28
  • Impact: Transport restrictions, heightened security, enhanced health screenings; possible localized business disruptions, protests

Summary
The Philippine government has banned its nationals from traveling to South Korea as of Feb. 28. The measure, which is part of the government's 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. Reports indicate that officials are holding off a ban on foreign visitors from South Korea's North Gyeongsang Province pending administrative process.

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 continue to require a 14-day quarantine period for Philippine citizens and permanent residents with recent trips to the affected areas.

Several airlines have suspended or reduced service between the Philippines and mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Authorities are also considering a travel ban on other locations with a significant number of COVID-19 cases, such as Iran, Italy, and Japan. The duration of the restrictions will likely depend on the course of the outbreak in China, South Korea, and other countries.

Local officials have also 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. Officials in other areas are restricting the entrance of foreign nationals with recent travel history to China. The central government also deploys additional police officers in New Clark City, Tarlac Province, due to the quarantine of evacuated citizens from Japan. Officials may also conduct random health screenings in some areas. Movement restrictions and increased screenings may prompt localized business disruptions in some areas. Residents could also stage demonstrations due to concerns over the travel restrictions and quarantine measures.

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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