Press Release / 18 February 2020
The Department of Health (DOH) today conveyed the resolutions of the 6th Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IAFT-EID) after the Task Force convened to discuss updates and recommendations on the management of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Health Event.
The IATF-EID meeting was attended by the representatives from the Office of the President and the Departments of Health, Justice, Interior and Local Government, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Social Welfare and Development, National Defense, and Transportation. Also among the government agencies represented in the Task Force were the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bureau of Immigration, Civil Aeronautics Board, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Philippine Ports Authority, Office of Civil Defense, and the Philippine National Police.
IATF-EID redefined the exemptions from travel restrictions based on thorough risk assessment of the current situation. Initially, only Filipinos and holders of permanent resident visas travelling from China, Macau, and Hong Kong were allowed entry into the country. In the recent resolution, Filipinos and their foreign spouses or children, and holders of diplomatic visas will now be allowed entry into the country subject to the required 14-day quarantine.
The Task Force also agreed to authorize travel to Hong Kong and Macau for permanent residents of the respective Special Administrative Regions, Filipinos leaving abroad for study, and Overseas Filipino Workers, provided that the travellers sign a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved.
Moreover, the IATF-EID resolved that all Filipino passengers and crew of the M/V Diamond Princess who will request repatriation will be accommodated by the Philippine Government in accordance with the guidelines set by DOH.
“We ensure our kababayans aboard the M/V Diamond Princess that your health and well-being is of utmost importance to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and this government,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.
DOH will follow strict infection control and quarantine procedures to ensure the safety of our repatriates and health workers who will man the quarantine facility.
“DOH, with the assistance of partner agencies will repatriate the Filipinos from the said cruise ship. We will closely coordinate with concerned offices and local government units to provide a seamless and efficient repatriation plan for our kababayans,” the Health Chief concluded.