AirAsia cancels PH flights to Taiwan amid novel coronavirus travel ban

Robie de Guzman   •   February 11, 2020   •   1135

MANILA, Philippines – AirAsia on Tuesday, February 11, announced the cancellation of its flights between the Philippines and Taiwan in compliance with the Philippine government’s expanded travel restrictions to China and its regions that were affected by the outbreak of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

In an advisory, the AirAsia said that flights going Taiwan (Taipei and Kaohsiung) are now cancelled until further notice.

The airliner previously cancelled flights from the Philippines to and from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao until March 2020.

AirAsia guests affected by the flight cancellations and travel restrictions may choose from the following options:

  • Move flight: One-time flight change to a new travel date on the same route within 30 calendar days beginning 29 March 2020 from original flight time without additional cost, subject to seat availability. Applicable for guests affected by cancelled flights and travel restrictions imposed.
  • Credit account: Retain the value of your fare in your AirAsia BIG Loyalty account for future travel with AirAsia. The online credit account is to be redeemed for booking within 90 calendar days from the issuance date for your travel with us. The actual travel dates can be after the expiry date as long as our flight schedule is out. This is applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.
  • Full refund: Obtain a full refund to your original payment method for the amount equivalent to your booking. Applicable for affected flights to/from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until 28 March 2020.

AirAsia said guests whose flights fall into the above date range can obtain a full refund in the amount equivalent to that booking in the form of original payment. Refund requests can be made with AVA at support.airasia.com. 

For bookings made through travel agents including online travel agents, refund requests are to be made via the respective travel agents.

AirAsia also strongly encourages its guests to update their contact details to ensure that they receive timely notifications.

The airline company’s action follows the Department of Health’s announcement Monday that Taiwan is covered in the expanded travel ban in an effort to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.

Philippines includes Czech Republic in travel ban list

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the Czech Republic are temporarily banned from entering the country.

According a statement from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, the inclusion of Czech Republic in the Philippines’ travel ban list is relative to the detection of the COVID-19 UK variant in the country.

This means foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the Czech Republic within fourteen (14) days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines are not allowed entry effective January 28, 2021, 12:01 AM, Manila time until January 31, 2021.

Meanwhile effective immediately, foreign passengers coming from, or who have been to the Czech Republic within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, arriving before January 28, 2021, 12:01AM, Manila time, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.

Also, effective immediately, Filipino citizens coming from, or who have been to the Czech Republic, within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those arriving after January 28, 2021, 12:01AM, Manila time, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.

As a standard procedure, passengers who are allowed entry to the Philippines need to undergo RT-PCR test upon their arrival. 

They have to be quarantined until the result of a subsequent RT-PCR test, which is administered on the fifth day of the quarantine is released. 

Those who tested negative from both RT-PCR tests will be endorsed to their respective local government units, which will strictly monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.

Filipino and foreign passengers merely transiting through the Czech Republic shall be covered by the rules as provided in the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated December 31, 2020.

To date, the ban on foreign travelers now covers 36 countries and territories following confirmation of the presence of new COVID-19 variants: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Hungary and Czech Republic.

Gov’t extends travel restrictions on 32 countries until January 31

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has extended the travel restrictions on 32 countries until January 31 amid threat of the new COVID-19 variant.

The Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the recommendation to extend the travel restriction, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

Inaprubahan po ng inyong IATF ang rekomendasyon na ma-extend hanggang Janaury 31, 2021 ang entry travel restrictions at mga patakaran sa mga byaherong galing o transiting sa mga sumusunod na bansa kung saan meron na pong bagong strain ng COVID-19 (The IATF approved the recommendation to extend the entry travel restrictions until January 31, 2021, including the implementation of protocols for travelers transiting in areas with confirmed new strain of COVID-19),” Roque said.

Countries with travel restrictions until January 31:

  • The United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • The People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • United States of America
  • Portugal
  • India
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Jordan
  • Brazil
  • Austria
  • Pakistan
  • Jamaica
  • Luxembourg
  • Oman

Roque added that the IATF directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to implement health protocols and guidelines in airlines. Contact tracing and quarantine protocols will also be intensified.

Lahat ng matutukoy na close contacts ay kailangang sumailalim sa mahigpit na facility-based 14-day quarantine samantalang ang natirang contacts mula sa flight manifest ay papayuhan sumunod sa appropriate quarantine protocols (All in close contact need to undergo in a facility-based 14-day quarantine while the remaining contacts from the flight manifest need to follow appropriate quarantine protocols),” the Palace official said.

Local government units are advised to boost the maintenance of their quarantine facilities as well as the use of Staysafe.PH system for better contact tracing.

The IATF also approved the continuous genomic biosurveillance activities of the Department of Health (DOH), UP-Philippine Genome Center, and the UP-National Institutes of Health.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is not yet included in the list of countries covered by the travel restrictions. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Travel ban to lapse January 15, extension possible —Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   January 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Travelers from a total of 32 countries with reported cases of the new variants of coronavirus are still not allowed to enter the country.

However, the travel ban is only until Friday (January 15).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Thursday that with the Philippines reporting its first patient infected with the new COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom, the travel ban will likely be extended and may include the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the list.

“Ang aking payo po doon sa mga nagpaplanong magbiyahe na covered ng travel restrictions, yung mga dayuhan, wag ninyo na pong ituloy dahil yung naunang travel restrictions na inimpose ng president ay subject po to extension upon the approval of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) at number one in the agenda po yan,” said Roque.

Roque added that the IATF will meet within the day to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, the national government assures that the country has enough quarantine facilities for returning Filipinos coming from countries covered by the travel ban.

President Rodrigo Duterte hopes the new variant will not cause severe danger to the Filipinos.

“May bagong monster na naman. And I pray to God really na sana na hindi ito more dangerous, more toxic than the original covid,” he said.

Treatment czar Usec. Leopoldo Vega, meanwhile, said it is still best to conduct contact tracing and sampling to curb the spread of the new variant and designate a separate isolation facility for such cases.

“Kung magiging dominant po ang gagawin po namin talagang magbubukod kami ng ward for (new) COVID variant patients,” he said. -MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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