Shut The Border: Foreigners, some returning Filipinos barred from entering PH

A plane at airport grounds <i>Logan Weaver / Unsplash</i>
A plane at airport grounds Logan Weaver / Unsplash

Foreigners and locals who are not overseas Filipino workers are barred from entering the Philippines starting on Saturday, the country’s National Task Force Against Covid19 announced last night, in an effort to control the number of cases that have surged for the past few days.

Read: Cops to practice ‘maximum tolerance’ in enforcing Metro Manila curfew

The government will also limit the number of international arrivals to 1,500 passengers each day. Memorandum Circular No. 5, s. 2021 said the following passengers are exempted from the ban:

  • Holders of 9 (c) visas
  • Medical repatriates and their government-endorsed escorts
  • Distressed returning overseas Filipinos who have been endorsed by the Philippine government
  • Emergency, humanitarian, and other “analogous cases” approved by the task force

The ban, which is expected to end on April 19, is just the latest measure implemented to control the surge of COVID-19 cases, which experts said could reach 11,000 each day. Early this week, a 10pm to 5am curfew has been implemented in the National Capital Region, the epicenter of the pandemic in the country.

The country has the second-highest number of COVID cases in Southeast Asia, with 631,320 recorded as of yesterday, including 12,848 deaths and 560,736 recoveries. The Duterte government has started its vaccination program, the last in the region to do so.

The government has borrowed millions of dollars to fund its vaccination program but only donated vials of Sinovac and AstraZeneca have arrived in the country.

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