Philippines ban entry for foreigners amid Pandemic

Philippines ban entry for foreigners amid Pandemic

The Philippines is barring entry to foreigners, and to any of its nationals currently abroad and who are not classified as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), from March 20 until April 19, amid a rise in Covid-19 infection cases in the country, according to the government’s own news outlet.

The Entertainment City casino zone in the capital Manila has been able to conduct limited gaming operations despite a general community quarantine currently being in force in Metro Manila until March 31. The large-scale private-sector casino resorts had in pre-pandemic times, targeted inbound foreign tourists as an the important source of gaming revenue.

The country’s entry ban on foreigners was “in view of the rising Covid-19 cases,” and the detection in the country of “coronavirus variants”, from overseas, said the country’s presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. He added the government was looking to “avoid overcrowding” in the country’s quarantine facilities.

Exemptions from the entry ban apply respectively to: seafarers on a ship docking in a port of entry in the Philippines; those undergoing medical repatriation – and their escorts – as approved by the Philippine government; “distressed” returning overseas Filipino workers as endorsed by the Philippine government; and emergency or humanitarian cases approved by the country’s National Task Force Against Covid-19.

The country’s Civil Aeronautics Board has previously issued a directive to airlines, that limits to 1,500 daily, the number of inbound passengers from overseas, at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (pictured). The rule applies from Thursday (March 18) until  April 18, local media reports said.

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