MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will enforce a ban on travelers from countries with confirmed localized transmissions of the novel coronavirus, except for Filipino citizens and their dependents, foreigners who are permanent residents of the Philippines, and holders of Philippine diplomatic visas.
President Rodrigo Duterte announced this on Thursday evening, March 12, based on a recommendation from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to virtually ban foreigners from countries with local epidemics of the coronavirus.
This came as Duterte raised Code Red Sublevel 2 over Metro Manila, placing it on "community quarantine" or lockdown after localized transmissions of the virus spiked in recent days.
Duterte said he would issue an executive order to formalize the directive.
The government had already enforced a similar ban on China, Chinese special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau, and South Korea.
According to the World Health Organization, countries with confirmed locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday, March 10, are:
Western Pacific Region
Southeast Asia Region
Eastern Mediterranean Region
Region of the Americas
The virus has infected more than 125,000 people and killed 4,600 across 115 countries. More than 62,000 people have recovered from the virus. – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.