Public urged to postpone travel to Daegu, Cheongdo in South Korea amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has called on Filipinos to defer plans of traveling to parts of South Korea amid spike in the cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in said country.

In a media interview, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III discouraged the public from traveling to South Korea, particularly in Daegu and Cheongdo county in north Gyeongsang province, following a reported increase in the cases of confirmed coronavirus infection.

Duque said the Philippine government has yet to decide on whether to impose a travel ban to and from South Korea, but Filipinos planning to fly to these areas are advised to monitor developments and to delay any non-essential travel to the country as a precaution.

The health chief made the call after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday, February 23, advised Filipinos to comply with the advisories from South Korean health authorities and cooperate with efforts to quell the further spread of the COVID-19.

Duque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases is set to meet to discuss the matter.

As of Wednesday, February 26, South Korea has reported more than 1,100 confirmed cases with 12 deaths.

The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in South Korea has not received information that there are Filipinos infected with the disease.

The country has raised its four-tier alert to the highest red level as cases of virus infection soar.

Under the red alert, the health authorities recommended people with fever or respiratory symptoms to refrain from attending schools and going to work. Pregnant women, the elderly and the chronically ill are also advised to avoid crowded places.

The South Korean government earlier said they will adjust their epidemic prevention and control system, including stepping up the investigation of patients with mild symptoms and setting up a diagnosis and treatment system for confirmed patients.

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