Philippine says travel ban stays even as Taiwan plans countermeasures | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 14, 2020

Philippine says travel ban stays even as Taiwan plans countermeasures

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rejected on Thursday Taiwan's appeal to lift a ban on its citizens visiting the country, saying his primary concern was the safety of Filipinos.

Taiwan said it was considering countermeasures if the Philippines did not lift the ban it imposed this week to contain the spread of the coronavirus, but Duterte said the restriction stays "until the danger persists".

"My primary concern is the health and safety of our countrymen", Duterte was quoted by his spokesman, Salvador Panelo, as saying.

Taiwan is governed entirely separately from China, but Beijing claims the island as its own and the World Health Organization (WHO) clubs its virus cases in the category for China, which has led some countries to impose the same restrictions on Taiwanese as on Chinese citizens.

More than 115,000 Philippine citizens live and work in Taiwan, mainly in factories and employed as household help.

The Philippines' decision to include Taiwan as part of a ban on people from China visiting the country had "nothing to do with" the One China policy, Panelo said, quoting Duterte.

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