With South Korea’s successful efforts in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak, travel restrictions to and from the country have now been lifted, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
The Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IAFT-EID) under DOH has overruled said flight restrictions to and from South Korea on Monday, March 4. The decision was made during the 9th Task Force meeting on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, it is now ideally safe to allow flights to and from South Korea because of the country’s low fatality rate of 0.5% and its successful containment of the disease. However, Duque clarified that for those heading to North Gyeongsang Province—including Daegu City and Cheongdo County—a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved must be signed.
The task force also approved the Department of Foreign Affairs’ plan to repatriate the 148 Overseas Filipinos (OFWs) and 48 Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) members from Macau SAR via commercial and chartered flights. With this in mind, Duque assured that returning OFWs will undergo the prescribed screening and quarantine measures.
The IATF also agreed to lift the travel ban on different countries including Hong Kong and Macau as long as they sign a risk-acknowledgment declaration.
As the COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, the Philippines had previously banned flights from China and South Korea.
The DOH also confirmed that the country will not be banning flights from Italy, Japan, and Iran amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in these said countries.