Palace says Taiwan travel ban lifted after meeting of inter-agency task force on emerging infectious diseases

(Eagle News) – The Philippine government is lifting the travel ban it had earlier imposed on Taiwan, Malacanang confirmed on Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) has resolved to lift the travel restrictions imposed upon Taiwan effective immediately.

“Accordingly, travel may now be made by any national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” he said.

Panelo explained that the members of the Task Force agreed on the lifting of the travel restrictions for Taiwan after the meeting this afternoon.

He said that this was still in accordance with the protocols they are implementing to address the novel coronavirus problem.

Taiwan has earlier sought the lifting of the travel ban imposed by the Philippines, saying that this was wrong and unacceptable since they only have 18 cases of COVID-19, much lower than that of the other countries like Japan and Singapore where no travel ban is imposed.

It also hit the earlier reason cited by the Department of Health for including Taiwan on the expanded travel ban, citing the regulations of the World Health Organization (WHO) which follows a one-China policy.

Earlier, Malacanang clarified that the ban on Taiwan had nothing to do with the “one-China policy” but more on the health risks for Filipino citizens.

Taiwan had said that it would implement counter-measures on the Philippines if the country would not lift the travel ban.

Even Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had appealed to the DOH for the lifting of the travel ban for the sake of some 115,000 overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the lifting of the travel restrictions on Taiwan was done after making the regular “risk assessment.”

He cited the stringent measures being implemented by Taiwan against the spread of COVID-19, and that unlike Hong Kong, there is no local transmission of COVID-19 in Taiwan.