Philippines denies including Taiwanese in coronavirus travel ban

Taipei The Philippines government clarified on Monday that Taiwan will not be part of a temporary travel ban imposed on China, Hong Kong and Macau due to the novel coronavirus epidemic after conflicting comments.

On Feb. 2, the Philippines imposed a temporary ban on travel to the country by foreign nationals, regardless of nationality, who have traveled to mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau within 21 days before arriving.

At a press briefing Monday when asked about the ban, Department of Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said: "Since we have a temporary travel restriction on China, then Taiwan is included."

Domingo contradicted the comments made at an earlier press conference by another DOH undersecretary, Gerardo Bayugo, who said a resolution was still being considered by an inter agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases in the Philippines.

Later on Monday in reply to a text from Baushuan Ger (???), head of MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Manila Economic and Cultural Office Chairman Angelito Banayo said Domingo's statement was not an official position and that the country was not barring Taiwanese from entering.

According to a copy of the message obtained by CNA, Banayo said he has personally conveyed to the Philippine Presidential Office the fact that Taiwan's health protocols have been very comprehensive and sent the president a fact sheet on how Taiwan's government is controlling the spread of the contagion.

He said the Philippine government will hold a task force meeting on the coronavirus Wednesday attended by the DOH, the Bureau of Immigration and Department of Foreign Affairs to come up with a decision.

"In the meantime, immigration on the ground is not banning Taiwanese entry," Banayo said, and he offered his apologies for the confusing statements.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel