The Philippines has declared a health emergency amid concerns that the novel coronavirus is spreading undetected in the capital Manila and in surrounding suburbs.
On March 16, President Rodrigo Duterte put the entire Philippine island of Luzon under an "enhanced community quarantine" until April 12 to stop the spread of coronavirus infections. Public movement would be restricted to only buying food, medicine and other essential items necessary for survival. On 18 March, the Philippine Government revised its travel restrictions and announced that foreign nationals will be able to leave the Philippines at any time during the period of enhanced quarantine.
If you are in the Philippines, follow the advice from the World Health Organization (WHO): wash your hands consistently, maintain at least 3ft (1m) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, and if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early (call before visiting your doctor).
Travelers who have plans to visit the Philippines or are currently in the country need to be aware of potential volcanic activity from Taal volcano, which is located 37mi (60km) south of Manila on the island of Luzon.
On Sunday, 12 January 2020, the state seismology bureau raised the alert level for Taal volcano to level 4 following the expulsion of steam and ash.
Stay alert and up to date with local news and media. Find out how to stay safe if the volcano does erupt, and be prepared for potential changes to your travel plans or disruption to transport.
Typhoon Kammuri (locally known as Typhoon Tisoy) has made landfall in the Philippines and is expected to track across the Central Philippines and southern Luzon in the next 24 hours.
Before midnight on Monday 2 November 2019, more than 200,000 people had been evacuated. Flights have been canceled, and travelers should expect delays and disruption to travel plans throughout the week. Contact your travel provider for information on changes to your itinerary.
Mangkhut will also bring heavy rain which may cause localized flash flooding, landslides and storm surge. Please check with authorities for more information, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation.
On April 26, 2018, the Philippines Government shut down tourist access to the island of Boracay as a result of over-tourism and the resulting damage to the island's environment. The closure was announced on April 5 by Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who said the beaches and clear blue water had been turned into a "cesspool".
This shut-down is estimated to last for six months, and government authorities aim to clean up the island by flushing out illegal tourism operators and upgrading the sewer networks, which have struggled to cope with the influx of tourists to the island and has resulted in wastewater being pumped into the ocean. Aside from land-based tourists, cruise ships have also contributed to the pressure on the island's resources and infrastructure.
However, this clean up may be short-lived, as approval has been given for a large casino complex on Boracay.
In 2017, approximately two million tourists visited Boracay, 300,000 more than the previous year.
Despite the Boracay closure, that doesn't mean you should stay away from the Philippines. This archipelago nation has plenty of other islands to visit beaches, waterfalls and enjoy off-road adventures including trekking Mt Pinatubo on Luzon, visiting the Cloud 9 surf break at Siargao Island, ziplining on Bohol Island and scuba diving with thresher sharks at Malapascua.
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Michael Howard shares his advice on extra travel safety and health precautions you should take during the COVID-19 outbreak.