The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said foreigners would be temporarily banned from entering the Philippines following the Department of Foreign Affair’s (DFA) order to suspend visa issuances and visa-free privileges due to COVID-19 threat.
“There will be a temporary travel ban on foreigners entering the country starting 12 a.m., March 22, 2020,” the DOTr said in an advisory.
DFA Foreign Circular No. 29-2020 states that visa-free privileges including those based on Visa Waiver Agreements, those under Executive Order 408, s.1960, and for holders of Hong Kong and Macau SAR passports, Macau-Portuguese passports, and British National Overseas passports, are likewise temporarily suspended, effective March 22, 2020.
All previously issued visas will be canceled, and foreigners possessing visas issued by the Philippine Foreign Service Posts, primarily Temporary Visitor/Tourist visas, will be denied entry to the Philippines starting March 22.
“Only OFWs, repatriating Filipinos, their foreign spouses and children (provided that the foreign spouse and children are traveling with the Filipino national), foreign government and international organization officials accredited to the Philippines, will be allowed to enter the country,” the DOTr said.
“OFWs, balikbayans, and foreign nationals leaving for abroad through any of the ports in Luzon shall be allowed at any time for the duration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine. Provided, that proof of international travel itinerary scheduled within twenty-four (24) hours must be presented. Departing Filipino tourists are temporarily not allowed to depart,” it said.
Foreigners banned from entering Philippines by March 22
President Rodrigo Duterte, on Monday night, placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine at midnight Tuesday, March 17.
Under an enhanced community quarantine, the following are implemented:
- strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households;
- transportation shall be suspended;
- provision for food and essential services shall be regulated;
- and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures will be implemented;
- Sweeper flights for foreign nationals to bring them to airports will be allowed to continue operations;
- Only one person is allowed to bring/fetch a passenger to the airport, and he/she must depart immediately after picking up/dropping off said person.
As of March 19, the Philippines recorded a total of 217 confirmed cases of pandemic COVID-19 with 17 fatalities.