MANILA - Filipinos in South Korea are taking measures to protect themselves after the country raised its highest alert status due to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a Philippine official said Tuesday.
No Filipino has so far contracted the illness, according to Consul General Christian de Jesus.
There is also no panic buying in Seoul, he added, and business is being done as usual at the Philippine embassy.
"Patuloy pong dumarating ang applicants. Tuloy pa rin ang buhay pero mas maingat po ang mga tao ngayon. Palaging naka-mask, naghuhugas ng kamay at umiiwas po sa malalaking grupo," he told radio DZMM.
(Applicants keep coming. Life goes on but people are more careful now, they are always wearing face masks, washing their hands, and avoiding big crowds.)
South Korea has reported 893 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, the largest national total anywhere outside China, with a total of 8 fatalities.
Most of the country's cases are connected to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southern city of Daegu, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier said.
Events have been canceled while establishments and even churches have closed, De Jesus said, following the South Korean government's raising of the highest alert status.
The Philippines' inter-agency body on infectious diseases is set to discuss prohibiting travel to South Korea, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.
"Kailangan tingnan din natin ano ba ang laki ng impact sa tourism income. Sa Department of Finance meron din, tapos sa Department of Transportation. Ating babalansehin pero mananaig pa rin ang ating health criteria," he said.
(We need to look at its impact on our tourism income. Same with the Department of Finance and Department of Transportation. We will balance it but the health criteria will prevail.)
South Korea was the country's top source of tourists with 1.6 million arrivals from January to October 2019, authorities earlier said.
--With Agence France-Presse