Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Saturday said the Philippine government will reconsider the travel ban imposed on Hong Kong and Macao.

She said the lifting would be based on the protocols of the two territories in containing the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The question of whether Manila is looking at the ban’s removal came after it withdrew the restriction on Taiwan.

“As long as protocols are imposed. With the case of Taiwan, they were able to show us that protocols were stricter because before there was a question that people from China could go to Taiwan and come to the Philippines without any detection,” Romulo-Puyat said in a CNN Philippines interview.

Romulo-Puyat said Taiwan was able to assure the Philippine government it implements strict protocol on handling travelers.

“Of course, in the tourism industry we would want no ban on any tourists but of course safety first,” she said.

Time to allow the return of Filipino workers to HK

Citing the facilities of Hong Kong to contain Covid-19, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. thinks it is time to allow the return of Filipino workers to the territory.

In a tweet, the top diplomat vowed that the government will reconsider the travel ban imposed within two weeks.

“Time to allow our domestic workers to return to their employers in Hong Kong. Eagerly awaited. Hong Kong has better facilities to contain the virus. I promised that in 2 weeks we will reconsider,” he wrote.

President Rodrigo Duterte early February imposed a ban on Filipinos from travel to China and its Special Administrative Regions Hong Kong and Macao amid the threat of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Early this week, Romulo-Puyat said the Philippines is stand to lose about USD291.71 million (PHP14.83 billion) for February 2020 due to the travel restrictions on tourists from and to China, Hong Kong, and Macao.

Death toll now at 1,524

The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 1,524, the country’s National Health Commission said Saturday.

Authorities said 66,492 confirmed cases have been reported, while in the last 24 hours, 143 people have died and almost 2,280 new cases have been detected.

The number of those detected with the virus outside China’s mainland stands at 56 in Hong Kong and 10 in Macao.

The number under medical observation dropped to 169,039.

The virus is said to have been transmitted to humans from animals, particularly bats. (PNA with reporters from Anadolu)


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