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BI turns away 36 Chinese nationals over nCoV travel ban

Bureau of Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Friday barred 36 Chinese nationals from entering the country due to the travel ban imposed over the novel coronavirus outbreak, the BI said in a statement.

According to BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina,    the Chinese travelers were refused entry at the NAIA Terminal 1 upon their arrival aboard a flight from Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“They were denied entry after our officers discovered upon inspection that they were traveling as a group and that they have been to Macau last Feb. 1,” Medina said.

Under the travel ban, foreigners would not be allowed to enter the Philippines if they had traveled either to China, Macau, or Hongkong within the past 14 days.

Medina said all 36 passengers were initially turned over to the Bureau of Quarantine for inspection and later booked on the first available flight back to Phnom Penh.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente meanwhile reiterated his appeal to air and shipping lines to "do their share in implementing the travel ban and prevent the entry of foreigners from the areas of concern".

The BI also said that they were now requiring both foreign and Filipino passengers from abroad to completely fill out and submit their arrival cards while undergoing immigration arrival formalities.

Morente earlier instructed all immigration duty supervisors in the different airports to strictly enforce the new policy so that the BI can ably assist health and police authorities in tracking down passengers who had recently been to the areas of concern.

Previously, only foreign passengers arriving at the airports were required to fill out said arrival cards while Filipinos were obliged to fill out embarkation cards when they leave the country. — DVM, GMA News