On February 27, health secretary Francisco Duque said the Philippines may include Japan in a travel ban to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health had earlier issued a travel ban on South Korea, preventing Filipinos from visiting the country.
According to Duque, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases will release a set of criteria that will be the basis of deciding whether to impose travel bans on certain countries.
"If Japan makes it in the list of criteria, the IATF will decide," said Duque.
Meanwhile, some members of the International Olympic Committee have expressed fear over pushing through with the games.
The Olympics is scheduled to take place in Japan on July 24, 2020, but a senior member of the International Olympic Comitttee (IOC) warned of the possibility of its cancellation because of fears of spreading COVID-19.
In an interview with the Associated Press, IOC member and Olympic gold medalist Dick Pound expressed his concern about the disease and the Olympics. “In and around that time, I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or not?’” he said.
“A lot of things have to start happening. You’ve got to start ramping up your security, your food, the Olympic Village, the hotels. The media folks will be in there, building their studios.”
According to Pound, if the IOC does not postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, then “you’re probably looking at cancellation.”
While the COVID-19 is on the milder spectrum of contagiousness (measles is 10 times more infectious), there are fears that a huge international gathering such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics could help make the disease achieve a truly global pandemic status. Globally, there are at least 81,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with at least 2,770 deaths. Japan has at least 800 confirmed cases.
*This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.