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Palace says more foreigners allowed entry

The Philippines will allow the entry of more foreigners amid a coronavirus pandemic, according to the presidential palace.

In a statement on Friday, presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque, Jr. said foreigners who have visas issued as of March 20, 2020, as well as those who have valid visas at the time of entry would be allowed to visit the country starting Feb. 16.

In a separate statement, Mr. Roque clarified that foreign tourists were still prohibited from visiting the Philippines unless they are exempted.

Inbound passengers must still pre-book accommodations at an accredited quarantine hotel or facility and undergo swabbing days after arriving, he said. They must also complete their 14-day quarantine.

An inter-agency task force had also allowed the unimpeded travel of government officials, including employees of Philippine central bank and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., to their destinations, Mr. Roque said.

He said these public officials were not required to undergo mandatory testing and quarantine protocols as long as they can present valid IDs and and the travel authority issued by the agency chiefs.

“They must likewise pass symptom screening at the port of their arrival, or in the case of public transport, upon boarding, and they must strictly comply with minimum public health standards,” Mr. Roque said.

The Immigration bureau on Jan. 30 said the Philippines would lift a travel ban on 36 countries with cases of a new coronavirus strain starting Feb 1.

Other travel restrictions remain including the ban on tourists, Immigration Commissioner Jaime H. Morente said in a statement last week.

Only accredited foreign diplomats and workers of accredited international organizations such as the World Health Organization and United Nations, foreign dignitaries, and those here for medical and emergency cases, including their medical escorts, would be allowed entry.

Foreign spouses and minor children of Filipinos, children with special needs regardless of age, the foreign parent of minor Filipinos and foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs regardless of age will also be allowed entry. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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