DOH: No Filipino infected with new coronavirus in South Korea
Workers from the Korea Pest Control Association, wearing protective gear, prepare to spray disinfectant to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at a market in Seoul on February 24, 2020.
AFP/Jung Yeon-je

DOH: No Filipino infected with new coronavirus in South Korea

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - February 24, 2020 - 1:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — No Filipino has tested positive for the potentially deadly coronavirus disease in South Korea—the country with the most number of infections outside China.

“We do not have any Filipino yet positive for COVID-19 [in South Korea]. We have one in Singapore, we have two in United Arab Emirates and we have one in Hong Kong,” Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.

Earlier, she was quoted in a GMA News report as saying that a Filipino in South Korea was infected by the virus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also said in a statement that the embassy in South Korea has not received information that there are Filipinos who tested positive for COVID-19 in the east Asian nation.

South Korea saw a rapid surge in the number of people who contracted the disease, with over 700 cases so far—the biggest hotspot outside mainland China.

Seoul raised the country’s virus alert to the highest “red” level to strengthen the response to the outbreak.

Travel precautions

Filipinos in South Korea were advised to limit non-essential travel, avoid public gatherings and take precautionary measures.

Currently, there is no travel ban imposed on Filipinos traveling to South Korea. But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told Philstar.com that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease may discuss the possibility of enforcing travel restrictions to and from South Korea.

The travel ban, if imposed, would deal a fresh blow to the country’s tourism industry. South Korea has been the Philippines’ largest tourist source for the past five years, with last year alone seeing about 1.9 millions Koreans visiting the country, government data show.

The illness that emerged in central Chinese city of Wuhan has killed over 2,600 people across the globe—with most of the fatalities concentrated in China.

China’s total infections stood at 77,000. There are at least 1,500 infections in at least two dozen countries.

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