Authorities on Wednesday ordered a ban on Filipino tourists going to virus-stricken South Korea, which has reported more than 1,000 cases of Covid-19.

The Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) also approved a ban on the entry of travellers from South Korea’s North Gyeongsang Province “effective immediately,” Malacañang spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.

Within 48 hours, the task force will decide on whether or not to ban all travellers coming in from South Korea, he sad.

“With respect to the other parts of South Korea, the IATF shall conduct a risk assessment of the situation within 48 hours to analyze whether it is necessary to expand the travel ban. In the meantime, strict protocols with respect to travelers entering the country from these areas in South Korea will continue to be observed,” Panelo said.

There are exemptions to ban on travel to South Korea — permanent residents, students studying in South Korea, and overseas Filipino workers.

“They are to execute and sign a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved prior to their travel,” Panelo said.

“The safety and security of the Filipinos here and abroad remain our primary concern. Our countrymen’s welfare is the foremost in the mind of the President and as well as concerned officials and they will be discussing this matter and make recommendations with respect to the management of the coronavirus,” he added.

Twelve people have died because of the virus in South Korea, the official Yonhap news agency said. (