The Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IAFT-EID) headed by the Department of Health (DOH) resolved to partially lift the travel restrictions to South Korea during the 9th Task Force meeting on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Health Situation.

Following the 9th IATF meeting, Filipinos heading to South Korea, except to North Gyeongsang Province including Daegu City and Cheongdo County, will be allowed to travel provided that they sign a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved.

“The IATF has resolved to partially lift travel restrictions to South Korea as their government has implemented stringent infection control measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. South Korea has also reported a low case fatality rate of only 0.5%, and the successful containment of local transmission to only certain areas,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III clarified.

The IATF also agreed to expand travel exemptions allowing dependents of permanent residents of South Korea, Hong Kong, and Macau to travel to these areas as long as they also sign a risk-acknowledgement declaration.

Additionally, the Task Force approved the plan for the Department of Foreign Affairs to repatriate 148 Overseas Filipinos (OFs) from Macau SAR via chartered flight within the week, and for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to repatriate 48 active OWWA members via commercial flight. Returning OFs will undergo the prescribed screening and quarantine measures being implemented by the Philippine Government.

“The IATF-EID is closely monitoring the the spread of COVID-19 cases in other countries and is regularly updating its travel restrictions based on standardized risk assessment indicators. We are working nonstop to ensure that our kababayans are protected from COVID-19 no matter where they are,” Duque assured.

“To date, we have not recorded any cases of local transmission of COVID-19 in the country. The WHO Director General has cited the Philippines as among the few countries in the world which have not recorded any new cases of COVID-19 for more than two weeks. With a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, we can sustain our gains in containing the spread of the disease,” the Health Chief concluded.