Philippines Revokes Travel Ban on Taiwanese

Manila, MINA – Philippine authorities revoked a travel ban on visitors from Taiwan. The local government will also evaluate other border areas, including in Macau. The policy was conveyed by a government official on Friday, February 14 as reported by Republika.

Earlier on Monday, a ban was granted by the Philippines to Taiwan as an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus. But, the Taiwanese government warned that there were only 18 cases of the virus in their country, far less than 63 thousand cases in China. If the Philippines continues to ban travel, Taiwan plans to retaliate.

Taiwan said the ban from the Philippines was carried out because of the World Health Organization (WHO). This international institution considers Taiwan part of China by including the number of victims in Taiwan to the Chinese ‘group’. This, according to Taiwanese authorities, gives a misleading impression that a virus outbreak occurred in his country.

The restrictions imposed on Taiwan were immediately removed effectively. Its people are now free to travel to and from the Philippines.

“The lifting of travel restrictions for Taiwan has been approved by members of the Interagency Task Force,” President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panele, said in a statement.

The Ministry of Health and the Philippine Ministry of Tourism confirmed the policy. They say, safety protocols will still be applied.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the news. They mentioned Taiwan has a conducive situation. Furthermore, WHO needs to recognize that Taiwan is not under Chinese authority and they must make amends, one official said.

The ministry added that the WHO’s wrong decision on Taiwan and registering it as part of the Chinese virus region had misled the international community. This is a big problem for the government and the people of Taiwan.

Taiwan and the Philippines are known to have close economic ties. More than 115 thousand Filipinos live and work in Taiwan, mainly in factories and as household assistants.

Taiwan itself is the Philippines’ fifth largest tourist market with 327,273 arrivals in January to November 2019. This figure is up 35 percent over the same period a year earlier, according to data from the local Ministry of Tourism.

The coronavirus has killed more than 1,500 people, almost all of them in China. The Philippines is the country that recorded the first deaths from the virus outside China. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)