MANILA - Japan might be included in Manila's travel ban depending on the new criteria which will be adopted by the Philippine inter-agency task force on the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
"Depende, kung ito'y pumasok," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told radio DZMM Thursday.
According to Duque, the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases will release its criteria Friday, from which Manila will base its decision on what countries will be included in its travel ban.
"Kung pasok [ang Japan sa criteria], posible," Duque said. "Magde-decision ang task force."
The health chief said one of the IATF's first criteria for a country to be included in the travel ban is the situation of local transmission of COVID-19 in the country. Another is if the country has a high volume of travelers.
Japan has seen at least 186 cases of infection among the general population with 8 deaths, including 4 who passed away after contracting the virus in cruise ship docked off Yokohoma.
On Wednesday, the Philippines barred its citizens from traveling to tourist-favorite South Korea as a protective measure against the COVID-19 which is rapidly spreading in the East Asian nation.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said IATF agreed that travelers coming from the South Korean province of North Gyeongsang are barred from entering the Philippines.
The IATF will conduct a risk assessment of the situation in the other parts of South Korea to analyze whether it is necessary to expand the travel ban, Panelo added.
--With a report from Agence France-Presse