PH lifts travel ban to China, except Hubei, for returning OFWs, gov't officials


Posted at Mar 16 2020 04:39 PM

MANILA - The Philippines has allowed government officials and returning overseas Filipino workers to travel to China, except Hubei province, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Sunday.

In February, the country prohibited travel to and from the mainland China following the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that originated in Hubei's Wuhan City.

The lifting of the travel ban, covered by a March 12, 2020 resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, applies to "returning OFWs who are able to present valid visas and/or work permits, overseas employment certificate, notarized declaration of their knowledge and understanding of the risks," and other relevant current employment document.

"Filipino government officials traveling to mainland China on official duty" are also permitted.

The following, however, remain prohibited from traveling to China:

- OFWs on first-time deployment;

- students;

- dependent of OFWs; and,

- tourists.

"The public is informed that these guidelines are regularly reviewed by the IATF and any changes will be communicated in due course," the DFA said.

The pandemic has so far infected over 150,000 people, and claimed the lives of some 6,000 worldwide, mainly in China. The Philippines recorded 140 cases, including 12 deaths.