By VIANCA GAMBOA
South Korea is one of the Filipinos’ top travel destinations, especially during the winter season. Due to its drastic increases in the number of Coronavirus cases, however, Malacanang recently imposed an immediate travel ban on Filipinos traveling to South Korea and Jeju island. The country now has the most infections outside mainland China, with a total of 1,146 coronavirus cases as of this writing.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the directive will guarantee safety for travelers, even if it will affect the Philippines and South Korea’s tourism ties. According to the statement of Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, it says that, “any travel to South Korea will be temporarily suspended. Only permanent residents of South Korea, Filipinos leaving for study, and (overseas Filipino workers) returning to work will be allowed provided that they sign a written declaration acknowledging the risks involved which will be complemented with a health advisory pamphlet.”
IATF also imposed a ban on the entry of travelers coming from North Gyeongsang, a province of South Korea, and they will conduct a risk assessment of the situation within 48 hours. President Rodrigo Duterte, however, believes that it’s not necessary to expand the travel ban. “For those who are healthy, they should come in. And for those who have been identified from other countries, then that is the time that we can raise objection of his entry,” he said in the press briefing.