Travel ban on Taiwan over COVID-19 lifted
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government on Friday lifted the controversial travel ban imposed on Taiwan in response to the 2019 coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak, based on the decision of the inter-agency task force helmed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“The Palace confirms that the [task force] has resolved to lift the travel restrictions imposed upon Taiwan, effective immediately. Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Friday statement.
“The lifting of travel restrictions for Taiwan has been agreed by the members of the [task force] by reason of the strict measures they are undertaking, as well as the protocols they are implementing to address the COVID-19.”
The task force will also assess other areas, including Macau for possible lifting of the travel ban.
“Meanwhile, the [task force] will likewise evaluate other jurisdictions, including Macau, for the possible lifting of the imposed travel ban after their submission of the protocols being observed by their government which prevent potential carriers of the said virus from entering and deporting their territory and enable others to determine the recent travel history of any traveler exiting their borders,” the statement read.
Earlier this month, the Philippines placed a temporary travel ban on China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau to contain the newly discovered strain of coronavirus, which has infected 46,997 globally, based on the World Health Organization’s latest situational report.
Travel to and from Taiwan was subsequently prohibited since the state is officially listed under China by the World Health Organization, according to the Department of Health, which cited the One-China policy.
Taiwan is treated by many countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, as part of China under the said policy, denying diplomatic relationships and memberships to Taiwan.
The travel ban was criticized by the Taiwanese government which said the measure was based on “wrong information” since Taiwan is not under the People’s Republic of China.