By MA. CRISTINA ARAYATA
MANILA — Local carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB), and AirAsia Philippines canceled on Tuesday their services to/from Taiwan, until further notice, amid the expanded travel ban imposed by the Philippine government to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
On Feb. 2, the Philippine government announced a temporary travel ban on visitors from China and its Special Administrative Regions (SAR) — Hong Kong and Macao. The Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) have just announced that Taiwan is part of the ban.
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla earlier clarified that the ban was directed to the travelers and not to the airlines. However, since there has been an increasing concern about the spread of the 2019-nCoV, and because many people did not want to travel, carriers were prompted to cancel flights to and from China, he said.
The three carriers announced that due to the latest development in the travel ban, they are now including Taiwan in canceled operations. Previously, they canceled all their services between the Philippines and China, SAR.
Both PAL and CEB are offering Manila-Taipei-Manila routes, while AirAsia Philippines has routes to Taipei and Kaohsiung from Manila, Clark, and Cebu.
Affected passengers may reroute or refund their tickets, and may also put the ticket value into a travel fund.
The temporary travel ban covers any person regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizens and permanent resident visa holders issued by the Philippine government directly coming from China or SAR, Taiwan; any person regardless of nationality, except Filipino citizen and permanent resident visa holders, who within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, has been to China or its Special Administrative Regions, or Taiwan.
A temporary ban on Filipinos from travel to China, its special administrative regions, and Taiwan, was also imposed. (PNA)