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4 Mar, 2020 by Jill Viray


The Philippines remains one of the countries of concern amid the threats of the novel coronavirus now officially known as COVID-19. And with that, the country has taken immediate measures in preventing it from spreading in the country.     


Nevertheless, efforts of preventing the spread of the virus are still in effect and being followed around the country. There is still the ongoing temporary ban of foreign nationals coming directly from China, Hong Kong, and Macau and a travel ban to those areas for Filipinos. Citizens who do come to the Philippines from those areas will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.  Major airlines such as the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific have also canceled several flights in an effort to help curb the disease’s spread. 

PAL announced flight cancellations to China, Hong Kong, and Macau on February 28, these flight cancellations will be extended until March 28 or until the travel ban ends. According to the airline’s statement, those who booked flights to destinations subject to the travel ban can either rebook, reroute, or refund their tickets with the usual fees waived. 

Cebu Pacific also canceled flights to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau from February 2 to March 29. Those who booked in the affected flights can either rebook to a new flight date that is within 30 days of the original flight, refund the tickets, or store the value of the ticket into a travel fund for use in the future.  OFWs working in these countries were also affected due to the travel ban and Filipinos coming from these countries are required to undergo 14-days of quarantine.  Just this weekend, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that they are implementing a ban on travelers coming from North Gyeongsan Province in South Korea. The area has shown an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases.

According to CNN Philippines, as of February 28, there were 2,337 cases of COVID-19 in South Korea and 13 recorded deaths.   Exempted from the travel ban will be Filipinos and, if applicable, their spouses and children, as well as permanent residents of the country, and diplomatic corps members. Though they may be subject to screening and quarantine procedures.  While the travel ban just covers North Gyeongsan, Cebu Pacific and PAL have already taken the initiative and canceled several of their flights to other major South Korean cities. Most of their flights to Incheon, Busan, and Seoul have been canceled for at least a month.


Public events, whether for sports, musical acts, and others were getting canceled one by one, as the Department of Health (DOH) recommended the cancellation of crowded events and gatherings until further notice. DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III also advised everyone to “avoid crowded places and continue to practice self-protection measures” in an advisory posted last February 7. However, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo made it clear that holding big events is not illegal. It is the organizer’s responsibility to take precautionary measures for event-goers. As of writing, these are the events that have officially announced their suspension and cancellation. 

Panagbenga (Baguio Flower Festival) opening paradeFebruary 1Moved to March 21
Pasinaya Festival, Cultural Center of the PhilippinesFebruary 7 – 9Cancelled
22nd cityhood anniversary, ParañaqueFebruary 13Suspended
83rd Araw ng Dabaw celebration, DavaoMarch 1 to 31Cancelled
EXO-LS (South Korean boy group)February 22Cancelled
Running Man (South Korean TV show)February 9Moved to June 21
25th Kalinga Foundation Day and 4th Bodong FestivalFebruary 12 to 14Cancelled
Ong Seong Wu fan meet and greetFebruary 25Postponed
Netflix’s To All the Boys: PS I Still Love You event, GloriettaFebruary 15Cancelled
Bench Noah Centineo Meet and GreetFebruary 16Cancelled until further notice
Mitch Albom book signingFebruary 15 – 16Postponed until further notice
“An Evening with 98 Degrees” showDavao – February 16
Manila – February 25
Cebu – February 19
Moved to the following dates:
Davao – May 16
Manila – May 21
Cebu – May 23
Philippine Military Academy annual alumni homecomingFebruary 14 and 15
Performing artists for Wanderland Music Arts and Festival, Alabang
Bruno Major
Novo Amor (Welsh singer-songwriter)
Ari Lennox
Sabrina Claudio
March 7 to 8Pushing through but with some foreign artist no longer to appear
La Trinidad Strawberry FestivalMarch 9 to 31Cancelled
Rakrakan FestivalFebruary 29Moved to April. Tentative dates are either April 18 or 25
Green Day Asia 2020 Tour (Manila leg)March 14Postponed
Khalid Free Spirit Asia Tour (Manila leg)April 2Postponed
Lubao Hot Air Balloon FestivalApril 3 to 5
Gary Valenciano Pure Energy 2020April 18 and 19Postponed


According to OneNews“the Department of Education has ordered the suspension of all national and regional activities as well as field trips and other off-campus events to minimize the risk of nCoV contagion.”

The following are the events that are deemed cancelled or postponed to a later date:

Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) 45th SeasonMarch 1, moved to March 8
PBA D-LeagueFebruary 13, moved to March 2
10th ASEAN Para GamesJanuary 18-24, moved to March 20-28
National Sports SummitJanuary, postponed
National Collegiate Athletic AssociationAll junior events cancelled
UAAP Season 82 volleyballPostponed. Started again on March 3

Sources: One News.phRappler


Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Saturday said it is cancelling a number of flights between the Philippines and South Korea scheduled next month amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

CANCELLED FLIGHTS from March 2 to March 30: 
PR 418 Manila – Busan (Mo/Th/Fr)
PR 419 Busan – Manila (Mo/Th/Fr)

CANCELLED FLIGHTS from March 1 to March 31: 
PR 468 Manila – Seoul (daily)
PR 469 Seoul – Manila (daily)

CANCELLED FLIGHTS from March 8 to March 29:
PR 418 Manila – Busan (We/Su)
PR 419 Busan – Manila (We/Su) 

CANCELLED FLIGHTS from March 12 to 31: 
PR 466 Manila – Seoul (only on Mo/Tu/Th/Fr/Sa)
PR 467 Seoul – Manila (only on Mo/Tu/Th/Fr/Sa)

Meanwhile, the flag carrier said will retain a number of flights to and from Seoul and Busan to serve travelers not covered by the travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government.

Passengers affected by flight cancellations can rebook, reroute or refund their confirmed tickets on or before March 28. They can choose a new travel date that falls on or before June 30, 2020. 

Holders of tickets issued by PAL may call their Reservations Hotline (+63 2) 8855 8888 or visit the nearest PAL ticketing office or log on to the ManageMyBookingPortal at for flight rebooking.
Meanwhile, holders of tickets issued by travel agents may contact or visit their nearest partner travel agency of PAL for their rebooking needs.  South Korea confirmed 594 more coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest increase to date for the country, bringing the national total to 2,931 infections with three additional deaths.



Following the Philippines’ decision to temporarily prohibit Filipino tourists from traveling to South Korea due to the novel coronavirus, Cebu Pacific canceled its flights between the two countries from March 3 to April 30.

The Philippine government also banned the the entry of travelers from South Korea’s North Gyeongsang province, which has been grappling with an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

In a statement on Friday, February 28, Cebu Pacific said the following flights are canceled:

5J 188/ 5J 187 (Manila-Incheon-Manila)
5J 128 / 5J 129 (Cebu-Incheon-Cebu)
5J 180 / 5J 181 (Kalibo-Incheon-Kalibo)

According to Cebu Pacific, affected passengers may go to their website and avail of the following options:

Rebook the flight to February 29, March 1, or March 2 (subject to seat availability)
Rebook the flight (new flight until June 30, 2020)
Refund the tickets in full
Store the value of the ticket in a Travel Fund for future use

The novel coronavirus that originated from Wuhan, China, has so far killed over 2,800 and sickened over 83,700 people across the country and worldwide. The World Health Organization already declared an international emergency over the virus.

As of Friday, the Philippines has recorded 3 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, all of them Chinese. One died, while the other two recovered.

The DOH has also probed 621 patients in the Philippines for possible infection, 62 of whom were from Central Visayas. Of the 621, only 30 remain admitted to heath facilities nationwide, while 588 have been discharged.



Turkish Airlines has temporarily halted all flights to and from Italy after the continuing spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe. In a statement released by the Turkish national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines said that the flight ban would start from March 1. The ban is in place until March 10 for now. 

“Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Italy, South Korea and Iraq, our flights to/from these countries are cancelled until 10 March 2020. As the airline that always puts the travel security at the forefront, Turkish Airlines will continue to monitor the latest developments on the situation with the national and international health authorities and take appropriate precautions.”

CNN reports that Italy reported a 50% increase in coronavirus cases this Sunday (March 1), as the US further restricted travel. US-based airline Delta and American have cancelled flights to Milan and has said they will only resume them on May 1. 

The Centre for Disease Control in the United States has also asked travelers to avoid all “non-essential travel” to Italy and has categorized it as a level 3 threat.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has warned the airline industry that they could stand to lose $29.3bn of revenue this year due to the effects of the virus.  So far, more than 89,000 people have been infected with the virus worldwide and more than 3,000 have died. Staff at Paris’s Louvre Museum have voted ‘almost unanimously’ to not work due to fears over the coronavirus.  



British Airways and Ryanair have cancelled hundreds of flights between the UK and parts of Europe and the US due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The BA cancellations include journeys between Heathrow and Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland – plus New York’s JFK. BA said the changes to its timetable as a result of the coronavirus outbreak would see “a number of flights merged between 16 March and 28 March”.

A spokesman for the airline said: “We will be contacting customers on cancelled flights so we can discuss their travel options, including re-booking on to other carriers where possible, full refunds or booking with BA for a later date of travel. “Customers can also find the latest information and options on”

Ryanair is reducing frequencies on some routes by up to 25%, particularly affecting flights to and from Italy. The Dublin-based carrier said it would operate a reduced schedule between 17 March and 8 April because of a “significant drop in bookings” over the period caused by concern over COVID-19.

Other measures being introduced by Ryanair include “rolling schedule cuts” allocating leave or paid leave to pilots and cabin crew, working with suppliers to cut costs, and freezing recruitment, promotion and pay. BA said it is cancelling 12 round-trips from Heathrow to JFK from 17 March to 28 March.

It is also scrapping 171 short-haul roundtrip flights from Heathrow to countries including Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland over the same dates. The cancellations affect seven short-haul BA roundtrip flights from Gatwick to Italy, France and Albania from 16 March to 25 March. And BA is cancelling 26 short-haul roundtrip flights from London City Airport to Germany and Italy from 17 March to 28 March.

More than 89,000 confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 have been recorded globally and there have been more than 3,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the outbreak.


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