Philippines eyes 'evidence-based' travel ban vs coronavirus


Posted at Feb 14 2020 09:00 AM | Updated as of Feb 14 2020 10:50 AM

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The Philippines on Friday will set parameters for "evidence-based" travel restrictions to curb the spread of a novel coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Health said, after Taiwan opposed Manila's ban on its citizens.

The DOH will present data on the coronavirus cases on Taiwan and other countries before an inter-agency task force decides whether or not to lift the travel ban, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

"Mamaya makapagbubuo sana tayo ng criteria o parameters para alamin sino ba ang kasama, sino ba ang hindi [kasali sa ban] para mas evidence-based na tayo," he told DZMM.

(Later, we hope to come up with criteria or parameters to determine which countries should or should not be included in the ban so that we are more evidence-based.)

Airport personnel monitor a thermal scanner as passengers arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay, Jan. 23, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

Aside from Taiwan, the Philippines also banned inbound flights from China and its special administrative regions Macau and Hong Kong.

Taiwan -- which is governed separately from Beijing and China claims as its own -- said it was considering countermeasures if the Philippines did not lift the ban.

The spread of the new coronavirus in Taiwan is already "controlled" given that some of its 18 patients already recovered and there were no deaths due to the disease so far, said Angelito Banayo, the Philippines' representative there.

Banayo, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan, earlier urged Manila to lift the travel ban.

DZMM, Feb. 14, 2020