MERS scare causes reset of PH Freedom Day program in Seoul


The Philippine Embassy in Seoul postponed its Independence Day celebration shortly after the South Korean government announced additional MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) cases in the country.

In a statement, the Philippine Embassy announced the postponement of its “Bayanihan sa Korea 2015,” a celebration of the Philippines’ 117th Independence Day and 20th Migrant Workers’ Day on June 12.

The celebration was supposed to be held in Ansan City but it was cancelled after the South Korean government announced several MERS-CoV cases.

Six had died from the virus.

Instead, the embassy said it will be open on June 14 (Sunday) for consular and other services from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It added that it will advise the Filipino community on new developments regarding the celebration.

The Philippines is yet to issue a travel ban to South Korea even as Seoul revealed that there were 13 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of MERS-CoV cases there to 108.

The World Health Organization also sees no need to announce a travel ban to South Korea as there is no outbreak or pandemic yet.

Although restrictions were not imposed, Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose cautioned those visiting the country, especially those who do not have urgent matters to attend to there.

As for those Filipinos coming home from South Korea, the official said this should be no cause for concern because Philippine airports are equipped with thermal scanners to help determine if returning Filipinos or foreigners are suffering from MERS-CoV-like symptoms.

Over the weekend, the Philippine Embassy in Seoul warned Filipinos to take precautionary measures when going outside as they can be vulnerable to the virus.

It also urged Filipinos to practice proper hygiene and to consult doctors and specialists as soon as symptoms occur.


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