The Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that there is no travel ban imposed on Filipinos traveling to South Korea but it advised Filipino travelers to delay non-essential travel to the country as cases of the potentially fatal novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continued to rise there.
“Currently, there is no travel ban imposed on Filipinos traveling to South Korea but travelers are cautioned to delay non-essential travel to the country as a precaution,” the DFA said, in an advisory issued Sunday.
South Korea raised its alert on the coronavirus to the highest level on Sunday after reporting three more deaths and 169 new infections.
South Korea has seen a rapid surge in the number of coronavirus cases since a cluster of infections emerged from a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu.
The DFA, through the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, urged all Filipinos in South Korea to monitor and comply with the advisories from South Korean health authorities and cooperate with efforts to quell the further spread of the virus.
It also advised Filipinos to contact the emergency hotline number of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul during emergency situations.
Filipinos in South Korea experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately contact the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, the Philippine Embassy has not received information that there are Filipinos in South Korea infected by COVID-19.
The embassy said it is closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Filipino community in ensuring the safety of Filipinos living and working in South Korea.
The DFA also urged Filipinos in Singapore to avoid large crowds after a Filipino in the country was tested positive for COVID-19.
“All Filipinos in Singapore are likewise encouraged to continue to maintain vigilance, observe proper hygiene, avoid crowds or large gatherings and frequently monitor personal health,” the DFA said, in a statement.
The DFA said those who develop fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty in breathing, are advised to see a doctor immediately.
The Filipino patient is now warded in an isolation room at a hospital, citing information from the Philippine Embassy in Singapore.
Besides the patient in Singapore, some Filipinos have also tested positive for COVID-19 in other countries. These are the 59 Filipinos quarantined at the M/V Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, one in Hong Kong, and two in the United Arab Emirates.
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said of the 59 Filipino crew members on the cruise ship, two have recovered.
There were 538 Filipinos on the M/V Diamond Princess, only seven of whom were passengers.
More than 400 of the Filipinos onboard the ship have asked to be repatriated to the Philippines. They are scheduled to arrive today, Tuesday, and head for Athlete’s Village in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, for a 14-day quarantine.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said strict infection control and quarantine protocols would be followed in the New Clark City facility.
A senior Palace official said Monday the country is expected to lose $300 million in total cash remittances from overseas workers in 2020 or a 0.8-percent decline in its project growth due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the country had been expecting $34.5 billion in cash remittances this year or a projected growth rate of 3 percent, but the government lowered this to $34.2 billion because of the virus.
Despite this, Nograles said economic managers expect “minimal impact” from the COVID-19 outbreak since remittances from the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia could compensate for the possible slowdown in remittances from countries covered by a travel ban such as China, Macau, and Hong Kong.
Of the total cash remittances of Filipino migrant workers, Hong Kong accounts for 2.7 percent. Macau and China have 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
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