PH mulls Japan, Italy, Iran travel ban as COVID-19 cases soar

By: Darryl John Esguerra - February 28,2020 - 06:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is eyeing a possible travel ban on Japan, Italy and Iran amid the rapid spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the said nations.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) is now monitoring the situation in the three countries which have reported a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the past few days, particularly Iran and Italy.

“Ayaw ko pangunahan (I don’t want to preempt) but obviously the Task Force is looking at these two countries [Japan and Italy] as well, especially Italy. Last count namin (Based on our last count) it spiked now to 650 in Italy. Japan has now come up to 202,” Nograles said Friday in an interview on CNN Philippines.

“Obviously Iran is something worth taking a look at also. Hindi natin pwedeng baliwalain ang Iran (We cannot set aside the situation in Iran) because we still have Filipinos there. About more than a thousand kababayan natin ang nasa Iran so tinitignan din natin ‘yan (About more than a thousand Filipinos are still there so we’re looking at it as well),” he added.

The COVID-19 outbreak has so far reached at least 45 countries, infecting more than 82,000 people globally and killing nearly 2,800, the vast majority in China.

It is spreading fast outside mainland China, most significantly in South Korea, Italy and Iran.

As of posting time, more than 2,000 people were infected in South Korea, the largest number of infections outside of China where the virus originated.

Italy, meanwhile, is home to the biggest outbreak outside Asia and the source of smaller disease clusters in neighboring European countries with more than 600 cases.

In Iran, at least 250 people have now been infected, including Iranian vice president Masoumeh Ebtekar.
The number of cases in Japan rose on Thursday to more than 200, up from the official tally of 186 late on Wednesday.
Four hundred forty-five Filipinos aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess which has been docked off Yokohama, Japan have been repatriated earlier this week.
The Philippines on Wednesday imposed a travel ban on Filipinos bound for South Korea.
A selective travel ban to travelers from  North Gyeongsang Province, including the city of Daegu, was also ordered to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus strain.

The Philippines has banned all travel to and from China and its two administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, on Feb. 2.


Taiwan was added to the ban but was also lifted after it warned of possible countermeasures.

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TAGS: Iran, Italy, Japan travel ban, Philippines

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