A policeman wearing a face mask speaks with a megaphone in Manila, the Philippines on July 15, 2020. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
“The 2019 Plague” Day 234
MANILA (Manila Times) – The Philippines will allow the entry of foreigners with long-term visas in the country starting August 1, Malacañang Palace said on Friday as the government sought to revive the economy shut down by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr said the decision to allow foreigners to enter the country was reached by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) subject to certain conditions, following a meeting on Thursday.
In a statement, Roque said foreigners traveling to the Philippines must have valid and existing visas, which according to him, “means no new entry visa shall be accepted.”
“They are likewise subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, as returning overseas Filipinos will be given priority,” Roque said.
“Foreign nationals must also secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and a pre-booked COVID-19 testing provider,” he added.
This came a week after the government eased travel restrictions for Filipinos, allowing them to travel abroad even for tourism-related trips.
The government banned the entry of foreigners as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
Visa issuance to foreigners has been suspended since the government imposed the strict quarantine measures last March to contain the pandemic.
Visa-free privileges of foreign nationals are also temporarily suspended by the government. Only officials of foreign governments and accredited international organisations, as well as foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals are allowed to enter the country.
The Palace admitted in June that a foreign embassy requested the government
to ease the country’s travel restrictions for foreign workers, at least for those engaged in big ticket infrastructure projects.
The IATF-EID later created a sub-technical working group “to study and address the management of foreign nationals who will be allowed to enter the Philippines for specific purposes.”
As of Thursday, the Philippines recorded 61,266 Covid-19 cases nationwide with 1,643 fatalities and 21,440 recoveries.