Around 150 people were caught mid-flight and banned from entering the Philippines after the Civil Aeronautics Board of the Philippines (CAB) suddenly imposed a ban on entry from Taiwan based on the one-China principle late last night, February 10.
The CAB announced the ban at 9:50 pm, while flights from Taiwan to several Philippines airports were already in the air. The ban stipulated that arrivals from Taiwan will not be allowed entry other than those with a Philippines passport or residency permit.
Liberty Times reported that passengers on one flight landed in the Philippines at 11:00 pm, but passengers were not disembarked until 2:00 am. The passengers were then required to remain in a departure area until a return flight was arranged, taking off at 9:00 am.
The ban also affects transit passengers traveling on China Airlines and EVA Air flights from the USA and Canada transiting at Taipei Taoyuan Airport.
The Philippine Department of Health said that it abides by the WHO definition of China under the one-China policy, and therefore included Taiwan as part of the epidemic area of China.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that the coronavirus situation in Taiwan is well under control, and that Taiwan is not an epidemic area of China. MOFA urged the Philippine government to expeditiously change its decision.
Philippine Airlines, among others announced cancellation of all flights between Manilla and Taipei:
“In compliance with the Philippine government order expanding the travel ban to include Taiwan along with other areas in Greater China, we are constrained to cancel all our flights between Manila and Taipei effective IMMEDIATELY, until further notice. These cancelled flights are PR890/891 Manila-Taipei-Manila and PR894/895 Manila-Taipei-Manila. ” Philippines Airlines announced on their website.
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