Taiwanese still allowed into Philippines despite confusion over China travel ban

Southeast Asian country viewing Taiwan as part of China based on WHO information

People in Taiwan wear protective face masks at a metro station in Taipei.

People in Taiwan wear protective face masks at a metro station in Taipei. (AP photo)

Update: The Philippines health official’s remark has been rebutted by the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei. Taiwanese are not, in fact, banned from visiting the country, but they are required to provide entry and exit documents showing their travel history for the past 21 days upon entry.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The government of the Philippines said on Monday (Feb. 10) that Taiwan has been included in the travel ban imposed on China, citing information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Southeast Asian country on Feb. 3 implemented travel restrictions for residents of China after reporting its first death from the Wuhan coronavirus.

At a press conference, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo clarified that Taiwan is also included in the ban based on how it is depicted by the WHO's map. “As far as the health community is concerned and the WHO is concerned, Taiwan is part of China,” ABC-CBN News quoted him as saying.

The health official noted that the Philippines adheres to the “one-China” policy and that the travel ban on Taiwan was implemented late last week, reported PhilStar. He explained that there has been confusion among Philippine agencies, enabling some flights from the island nation to be allowed into the country.

According to the report, Taiwan has sent notice to push for a lift of the ban. The issue is set to be discussed on Wednesday (Feb. 12) at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases led by the Philippine health ministry.

A similar ban was also put in place by Italy in an abrupt decision that saw more than 1,000 Taiwanese travelers stranded in the European country. While Taiwan has protested the move and blamed WHO for offering misleading information by grouping China and Taiwan together, Italy appears not to be budging, saying only it had “noted” the island’s request for a resumption of air travel, reported Reuters.