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DFA to clarify Saudi Arabia’s entry ban over coronavirus fears

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday it would seek clarification from Saudi Arabia over the implementation of the kingdom’s travel restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus disease.

DFA Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez gave the statement following reports of some Filipinos being barred from entering Saudi Arabia, which restricted the entry of pilgrims and suspended visas for tourists from countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

House Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr., for instance, was not allowed to board his flight to Jeddah from Dubai after the airline received the advisory from Saudi Arabia regarding the entry of pilgrims.

Abante was on an official trip to Jeddah to talk to overseas Filipino workers in the city.

“We are quite concerned about reports of the Saudi governments’ action with regard to this particular COVID-19 issue. We hope to clarify all these reports,” Meñez said at a news conference in Malacañang.

“If there are those who are negatively affected, we will also bring those cases to the attention of the Saudi government so that they are better able to implement whatever policy they decide to take.”

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Cacdac, meanwhile, said migrant workers are not affected by the travel ban.

“I think the Saudi government has already clarified this. Walang ban on re-entry sa mga OFWs,” he said.

“We’re likewise confident na with the Saudi government we will carefully look out for the welfare and protection of our OFWs.”

Saudi Arabia is one of the top destinations for OFWs. —LDF, GMA News