Airlines cancel Taiwan flights after PH issues expanded coronavirus ban

Photo: ABS-CBN News
Photo: ABS-CBN News

Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (PAL) have canceled their Taiwan-bound flights after the Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday that the country was included in its expanded coronavirus travel ban.

Budget carrier Cebu Pacific announced today that all flights between Manila and Taipei have been canceled indefinitely, Rappler reports. Meanwhile, PAL said in a statement that they were undertaking the same move “in the interest of public health and safety,” according to ABS-CBN News.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said yesterday that Taiwan had been included in the expanded ban because the World Health Organization identifies it as part of China, where the coronavirus originated. However, Taiwan has had an independent government since the 1950s, although China sees it as a breakaway province which they have long sought to reclaim.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration issued an announcement today further explaining what the ban entails. It said that all travelers — except Filipinos and Philippine permanent residents — from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, and Macau are forbidden from entering the country. Filipinos and permanent residents will be allowed entry, subject to an unspecified “assessment” by an immigration official, but will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The bureau added that Filipinos and permanent residents, including overseas Filipino workers, are prohibited from traveling to Taiwan, mainland China, and the country’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

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