Philippines announces travel ban to China

Aviation Updates Philippines – The Philippine government has canceled all flights between the country and China, including its special administrative regions (SAR) since Sunday, February 2.
AIR LINKS CUT. Philippine officials have announced the cancellation of flights between the Philippines and China until February 29, 2020 to control the prevent of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Photo by Mark Demayo - ABS-CBN News
From what was once a simple travel ban to Wuhan and its neighboring Hubei province, President Rodrigo Duterte expanded the travel ban to include the whole of mainland China, Macau, and Hong Kong. The ban will take effect until February 29, 2020.

The decision left airlines no other choice but to forcibly cancel its scheduled services between the two countries amid the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China.

Since last week, Philippine-based airlines have been canceling flights to China to curb the outbreak from spreading further in the Philippines. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Philippines AirAsia announced service reductions until late-March to most Chinese destinations while offering free refunds and rebookings.

Affected passengers may opt to avail of refund and rebooking services from respective airlines within the ticket validity period. Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia guests may also avail of the services as mentioned earlier and may even have their ticket value stored in a travel fund.

The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) recently announced its second 2019-nCoV case and the first fatality of the virus outside of China. The government heeded to the recommendations of the DOH to prevent the spread of disease.

The Bureau of Immigration (BOI), in a report from ABS-CBN News, clarified that not only Chinese citizens are banned from the Philippines but also transiting passengers from other countries. Foreign nationals are not allowed to check-in on flights to the Philippines if they have traveled to China within the last 14 days.

However, Philippine nationals and those who hold Permanent Resident Visas are allowed to enter the country provided that they undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in the Philippines.