The Philippine government has temporarily suspended the entry of foreign nationals and returning Filipinos who are not overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
In a memorandum circular dated Tuesday, March 16, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) directed “all concerned agencies” to implement the travel restrictions from March 20 to April 19.
The following are exempted from the ban:
- Holders of 9(c) visas
- Medical repatriation and their escort/s duly endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers (DFA-OUMWA) or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
- Distressed returning overseas Filipinos duly endorsed by the DFA-OUMWA
- Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the NTF COVID-19
The Philippine government earlier announced it would be imposing a cap on international arrivals to a maximum of 1,500 passengers per day, from March 18 until April 19.
The order cited “efforts to prevent entry of SARS-CoV-2 variants from other countries and the further rise of cases” as reasons for the travel restrictions.
The Philippines has been seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, logging 5,404 new cases – the 4th highest daily tally since the pandemic began – on Monday, March 15, or one year since Metro Manila’s lockdown started.
As of Tuesday, the country has 631,320 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 57,736 active cases, 12,848 deaths, and 560,736 recoveries. – Rappler.com