This picture taken on February 14, 2020 shows a health quarantine officer (L) wearing protective gear as he checks the health documents from an arriving passenger in the wake of the the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak before she passes through customs at Daxing international airport in Beijing.
AFP/Nicolas Asfouri
LIST: Available flights for Filipinos in China who want to return home
( - February 19, 2020 - 11:13am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Philippine-bound flights are available in certain areas in China for Filipinos who want to return to the country.

Filipinos who want to return to the Philippines are reminded to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the country amid the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak in China.

Philippine-bound flights are available in the following areas:

Beijing With layovers in Bangkok, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo Xiamen
Chengdu With layover in: Guangzhou
Chonqing With layovers in: Bangkok, Guangzhou
Guangzhou Direct flight to Manila and with layovers in: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul
Guiyang, Guizhou Province With layover in: Guangzhou
Hong Kong Direct flight to Manila and with layovers in: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo
Kunming, Yunnan Province With layovers in: Bangkok, Guangzhou
Macau With layovers in: Bangkok, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Vientiane
Shanghai With layovers in: Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou, Haneda, Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Narita, Seoul, Xiamen
Xiamen With layovers in: Bangkok, Guangzhou, Haneda, Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Narita, Seoul, Xiamen

"Flight availability subject to changes. Also, please be guided by the travel bans imposed by the countries where the flights will transit," the DFA said.

Filipinos in China may coordinate with their respective embassies and consulates general through the following links:

"Moreover, the DFA continues to work closely with relevant government agencies to ensure that effective and immediate assistance is extended to Filipinos abroad," the agency added. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 29, 2020 - 2:36pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

March 29, 2020 - 2:36pm

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says test kits donated by the Chinese government are actually accurate.

In a transcript of a text message sent by the embassy and since confirmed by Duque, the health secretary said:

"Hi! There is nothing wrong with the REAL TIME-POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION machine which is used for generating positive or negative result as the case may be!

Again your Test Kits BGI and SANSURE BIOTECHNOLOGY are very good and up to the standards as those which were donated by WHO and approved by our RITM. AGAIN OUR GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION TO YOU AND THE CHINESE Government."

The Department of Health has also issued an apology and clarification on the issue.


March 29, 2020 - 10:51am

US President Donald Trump decided late Saturday against imposing a broad two-week lockdown on New York and its neighbors after a strong pushback from local political leaders and warnings of the panic it could spark.

"A quarantine will not be necessary," Trump tweeted, some eight hours after he stunned the New York metropolitan region, the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak, with a proposal to place it under quarantine to prevent residents from leaving.

Trump had indicated earlier he was responding to worries in other states, particularly Florida, that travelers from the greater New York city area could spread COVID-19 in their communities.

He told reporters that "heavily infected" New Yorkers were a threat to Florida, a popular southern holiday destination for people in the northeast. ?— AFP

March 28, 2020 - 6:29pm

Iran announces that 139 more people had died from the novel coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 2,517 in one of the world's worst-affected countries.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour says in a press conference that 3,076 more cases had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 35,408. — AFP

March 28, 2020 - 3:53pm

Actress Iza Calzado tested positive for the coronavirus disease, her manager says.

March 28, 2020 - 1:30pm

Toyota Makati Inc. announces that a team member tested positive for COVID-19.

"The safety and security of our employees, customers, and all of our stakeholders, is paramount to us. Keeping this in mind, and under the guidance and support of the relevant national and local authorities, we are taking immediate and comprehensive actions necessary, including disinfection of the dealership, to prevent any spread of the virus," the company says.

"Furthermore, all employees who have had close contact with the infected member have been quarantined," it adds.

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