Qatar bans travelers from PH, 13 other countries over coronavirus fears

MANILA, Philippines – The Qatari government on Monday, March 9, imposed temporary travel restrictions banning the entry of travelers from the Philippines and 13 other countries amid growing fears over the continued increase in novel coronavirus cases.

The Philippine Embassy in Qatar advised Filipinos to take note of the measure issued by Qatar Sunday night, March 8 (Monday, March 9, Manila time), which covered Doha-bound passengers from the following countries:

According to the Qatari government, travel restrictions will cover all individuals entering from these countries, including those with residence or work permits, temporary visas, and visas upon arrival.

"The step comes in line with the State of Qatar's efforts to take all necessary preventive measures to limit the spread of the virus," the Qatar government said in an advisory.

Qatari officials likewise urged all its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel in the meantime.

The Qatari government's travel ban adds to a growing list of restrictions affecting the Philippines, where 10 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, have been found.

Aside from Qatar, Saudi Arabia earlier imposed restrictions against Filipino tourists entering the country while Kuwait announced it was suspending all flights to and from the Philippines to quell the spread of the virus.

As of Monday morning, Qatar recorded 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus. There were no recorded deaths in the country yet.

The Philippines has recorded 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including the first death outside of China. Of the remaining 9, two have since recovered and left the country, while the others were being treated. One was in "very critical condition" as of early Saturday morning, March 7.

Worldwide, the death toll from the coronavirus stood at 3,803, while over 109,000 were infected across 104 countries. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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