Philippines eases travel rules for foreigners

MANILA (XINHUA) – The Philippines will ease the coronavirus travel rules for foreigners who wish to enter the country this month.

Starting February 16, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines will allow foreigners with visas issued as of March 20, 2020, and still valid at the time to enter the country.

Foreigners with valid and existing special resident and retirees and Section 9 (A) visas will also be allowed “as long as they present an entry exemption document to the Bureau of Immigration upon arrival”, he added.

Section 9 (A) or temporary visitor’s visas are issued to foreign nationals coming to the Philippines for business, tourism, or medical purposes. However, Roque reiterated foreign tourists are “not allowed still unless with (an) exemption”.

He said the government will decide on exemptions on a case-to-case basis.

Foreign nationals must also have pre-booked accommodation for at least six nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility and subject to COVID-19 swab test on the sixth day from date of arrival while on quarantine.

The Philippines Department of Health (DoH) reported yesterday 1,894 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 533,587.

The death toll climbed to 11,058 after 61 more patients died from the viral disease, the DoH said. It added 397 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 488,274.

The Philippines, which has about 110 million population, has tested over 7.4 million people since the disease emerged in January last year.