Philippines bans entry of all foreign nationals as COVID-19 infections climb to 217

The Ortigas business district on March 17, the first day of Luzon’s Enhanced Community Quarantine <i>Photo: Jonathan Cellona / ABS-CBN News</i>
The Ortigas business district on March 17, the first day of Luzon’s Enhanced Community Quarantine Photo: Jonathan Cellona / ABS-CBN News

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced that it is barring all foreign nationals from entering the Philippines to curb the spread of COVID-19, as the number of recorded cases in the country reached 217 after the discovery of five new cases.

The DFA announced last night that they are temporarily suspending the issuance of visas and visa-free privileges to non-Filipinos. This means foreigners can leave the country, but will no longer be allowed to enter — a rule that becomes “effective immediately,” the DFA said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said in a tweet last night that “the total ban on incoming foreign visitors of all nationalities” will have “no exceptions.”

“Outgoing foreign visitors should be given all the help to get out. Idiotic to detain them,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) announced last night that another person has recovered from COVID-19, bringing the country’s total recorded recoveries to eight.

The newly recovered patient is case PH20, a 38-year-old man from Cavite who recently traveled to Japan. He was admitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, and was discharged after twice testing negative for the virus. DOH did not give details as when he was tested for the virus, or when he was discharged.

The agency also has yet to release details of the five newly infected patients. The country’s total coronavirus deaths remain at 17 as of this morning.

DOH also clarified yesterday that the country’s 16th death, PH57, was a resident of Bulacan, and not Pasig City as they initially announced. “Upon further validation, it was found that it is a family member of his who lives there,” the DOH said.

The Philippines is currently under a state of national calamity, and all of Luzon island has been placed on a monthlong lockdown to control the spread of the virus.


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