Taipei office in Manila closed due to COVID-19 case


TAIPEI (CNA) — The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines suspended consular services beginning Thursday until further notice due to a confirmed COVID-19 case involving a receptionist who works in the building where the office is located.

TECO, the de facto Taiwan embassy in the Philippines, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in a public advisory posted on its website.

However, the advisory said TECO will still receive individuals who have appointments scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) later made a further clarification regarding TECO’s announcement.

A receptionists at the RCBC Plaza Tower 1, where TECO is situated, was confirmed infected with the coronavirus on June 29, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said during a regular press briefing on Thursday.

Since TECO also has two receptionists at the tower’s shared counter on the ground floor assisting visa applicants, the office has instructed the two, along with local staff in the visa section who have regular contact with them, to conduct home quarantine for 14 days beginning Thursday, according to Ou.

“At the moment, no TECO personnel and Taiwanese officials assigned to the office have been diagnosed with COVID-19. They remain healthy,” Ou said.

As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the Philippine Department of Health had recorded a total of 38,511 COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 1,270 deaths.

Meanwhile, MOFA said that a Taiwan embassy employee in Honduras who was diagnosed with the COVID-19 in May has recovered.

“The embassy staffer was tested negative twice for the virus on June 22 and 25. The individual was then assigned to an embassy team that works from home,” Ou said.