DOH tracing Koreans who landed in Cebu amid COVID-19 spread in SoKor

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2020 02:58 PM

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it is tracing passengers who arrived in Cebu from Daegu in South Korea on Tuesday, a day after the government imposed travel restrictions on parts of the East Asian country amid the spread of the coronavirus there.

Media reports said 26 South Koreans arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport on Tuesday evening from Daegu, one of the areas covered by the Philippine government’s travel ban to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

On Wednesday, the government announced that it would not be allowing travelers from Daegu and the rest of the North Gyeongsang province to enter the country after more than 1,200 in the area tested positive for COVID-19.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH’s regional office in Cebu is already working on it.

“Everyone who arrived is being traced,” she said. “We are already coordinating with the regional office.”

“They are going to places where (the travelers) are (staying),” she added.

Asked if the travelers will be asked to return to South Korea, Vergeire said there is no need.

She said it would be better to just let them stay in the Philippines and observe them.

There are now over 80,000 people infected with COVID-19 across the world, mostly in China. South Korea, meanwhile, has the highest number of infections outside China, with the spike in cases linked to a religious group.

While the Philippines has prohibited all Filipino tourists from traveling to South Korea, it is allowing travelers from outside North Gyeongsang province to enter. Officials said this is because the South Korean government has assured the Philippines that the COVID-19 cases are being effectively contained in the said province.