DFA advises Filipinos to 'delay non-essential travel' to South Korea

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advised Filipinos to "delay non-essential travel" to South Korea, as the East Asian country raised its alert level for the novel coronavirus to the highest on Sunday, February 23.

There is currently no ban on Filipinos traveling to South Korea, but the DFA said "travelers are cautioned to delay non-essential travel to the country as a precaution."

South Korea reported 169 new infections and 3 more deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 602 and the total number of deaths to 5.

South Korea now has the most infections outside of China, aside from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan. More than 600 passengers and crew of the cruise ship have tested positive.

The DFA said the Philippine embassy in Seoul is closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Filipino community.

"The embassy has not received information that there are Filipinos in South Korea infected by COVID-19," said the DFA, referring to the disease caused by the virus.

"Filipinos in South Korea experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately contact the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 1339."

For emergencies, the DFA said Filipinos in South Korea may also call the Philippine embassy at (+82) 10-9263-8119.

As of Sunday, at least 55 Filipinos have contracted the virus, all based outside the Philippines. Two are in the United Arab Emirates, one in Hong Kong, one in Singapore, and 51 from the Diamond Princess. (READ: Filipino coronavirus case in Singapore didn't travel to China)

In the Philippines, there have been 3 confirmed cases, all Chinese. One of them died, while the other two recovered.

So far, the virus has killed 2,442 and infected 76,936 people in China. Cases have been recorded in more than two dozen countries. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com