Duterte expands travel ban on visitors from mainland China

President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the travel ban on the Hubei province in China to include the whole country and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go confirmed.

Duterte first issued the travel ban on Hubei where Wuhan City is located, the ground-zero of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. But after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first positive case in the Philippines, the President decided to include other Chinese regions as urged by the senators.

The country’s first 2019-nCoV positive patient is a 38-year-old Chinese tourist who came from Wuhan and flew to the country via Hong Kong. She is currently admitted at the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila.

“Sa ngayon ay mag i-implement na ng temporary travel ban on travelers coming from any part of China and its special administrative regions on top of the existing temporary travel ban imposed on those coming from Hubei province and other affected areas,” Go said in an interview.

Go also clarified that even foreigners who have a travel history in China 14 days before their arrival in the country would be barred from entering. He also added that the ban would cover “any person except Filipino citizens and holders of permanent resident visa issued by the Philippine government directly coming from China and its special administrative regions.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has also suspended giving visa to visitors from Hubei in the meantime, but the President and the DOH felt that a full ban is not necessary, pointing out that it could damage diplomatic relations with China.

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