Philippines won't expand coronavirus travel ban

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 3) - The government task force in infectious diseases has agreed to withhold new travel bans on other countries despite the rapid worldwide spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said the decision by the inter-agency task force (IATF) was guided by the health security risk assessment matrix, which evaluates risks with the outbreak.

“The IATF has also agreed that there are to be no new imposition of travel restrictions or lifting of the same as regards other countries or jurisdictions. The IATF assures that the review concerning travel restrictions and protocols to and from the Philippines shall be regularly conducted by it,” said Panelo in a statement.

The country has so far imposed restrictions on mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, and in North Gyeongsang province, South Korea, with the exemption of overseas Filipino Workers, permanent residents, and students.

The government has also raised the possibility of imposing travel bans in Japan, Iran, and Italy.

There is no local transmission as yet, but there are confirmed infection of Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.