The Philippines is considering a possible travel ban on Singapore to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak from China, Manila's health chief said Feb. 14, 2020 (Friday).
Philippines mulling over travel ban on S'pore
According to SCMP, Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told local media that a risk assessment was being carried out to decide whether Singapore would be included in the travel ban, which has already been imposed on China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
The results of the risk assessment could possibly exclude Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Countries such as South Korea, Israel, Kuwait, and Qatar have already issued travel advisories to their citizens regarding travelling to Singapore.
As of Feb. 13, 2020, Singapore has confirmed 58 cases of Covid-19. Of those, 15 have been discharged.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin Jnr advised against extending the ban to Singapore, arguing restrictions should hinge on a country’s ability to contain the outbreak rather than the number of infections.
He added the 200,000-odd Filipinos based in Singapore should not be ignored either.
Travel ban on Taiwan
Despite having only 18 confirmed cases of Covid-19, Taiwan has found itself caught up in several travel restrictions aimed at China.
On Feb. 10, the Philippine government extended its travel ban to include Taiwan, resulting in backlash from the self-ruled democracy.
Taiwan's foreign ministry described that decision as "wrong and unilateral", according to ST.
"To confuse Taiwan with China has caused troubles for our side and in the international community," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters on Feb. 11.
Italy has banned flights by Taiwanese carriers and Bangladesh has stopped Taiwanese travellers from entering.
Top image via Julia Yeo