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Bureau of Immigration expands travel ban to cover China and SARs

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Sunday said it had expanded the travel ban to cover foreigners coming from China and its Special Administrative Regions (SARs) following the Palace’s issuance of fresh directives on the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. 

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said all foreign nationals coming from China or its SARs would be turned back and not allowed to enter the country.

Filipino nationals and Philippine permanent resident visa holders would, however, be allowed to enter the country but would be required to undergo a 14-day home quarantine

The ban also covered other visa holders, transiting passengers, and travelers who had been to China or its SARs within 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines.

Aside from arrivals, the ban also included departure restrictions on Filipinos headed for China or its SARs.

“We have sent a notice to airlines and shipping agents requiring them to screen passengers before boarding to restrict the arrival of aliens who have visited the areas of concern in the past 14 days,” Morente said.

“We urge everyone to temporarily refrain from unnecessary travel, and to bear with the government as we implement this measure.”

Last Tuesday, the BI stopped issuing Chinese nationals visas on their arrival amid fears over the outbreak. — Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News