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MECO imposes addt'l visa requirements for Taiwanese citizens amid nCoV outbreak

The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the country's representative office in Taiwan, announced on Wednesday that it will impose additional visa requirements for Taiwanese citizens and other foreign nationals in Taiwan who plan to travel to the Philippines.

"In compliance with the advisory from the Office of the President, MECO took the initiative to deploy precautionary measures throughout consular services unit to prevent the worsening of the 2019 NCoV situation, MECO chairman and resident representative Angelito Banayo said in a press release.

From February 8 onwards, all Taiwanese travellers are required to submit a certification of their travel history issued by Taiwan's National Immigration Agency.

"[This] will allow the MECO consular service officers to determine if they have previously been to the places where the temporary travel ban has been imposed," the MECO said in a statement.

Banayo noted that Taiwanese passport holders who entered and left mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau were not issued entry and exit stamps. They were only issued an entry form which they submitted to immigration authorities upon departure.

"This makes it difficult for our consular services unit to determine previous travel to restricted areas," Banayo added.

However, he said that the implementation will not apply to other foreign nationals living in Taiwan because their passports may have already been stamped with their entry and exit records.

The MECO also announced that the issuance of multiple-entry visas is also suspended, because of the 2019-novel coronavirus (NCoV) situation.

As of Tuesday midnight, the number of confirmed nCoV-infected patients in China reached to more than 24,000 with three percent of the patients being "cured and discharged", according to China's National Health Commission (NHC).

On Wednesday, travellers from nCoV-stricken areas were reported to have been allegedly circumventing the country's travel ban. —Angelica Yang/LDF, GMA News