The government announced that it will suspend the entry of foreign nationals and returning overseas Filipinos who are non-overseas Filipino workers into the country starting Saturday, March 20 until Monday, April 19.
The decision was based on the recommendation of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) to limit the number of inbound international passengers to 1,500 a day.
Due to the increasing number of new cases of COVID-19 here in the Philippines, the National Task Force temporarily suspends the travel into the Philippines for foreigners and returning Overseas filipino workers. pic.twitter.com/NxQq6UDhjX
— Department of Health (@DOHgovph) March 16, 2021
No Entry: PH to Bar Foreigners, Returning Filipinos who are not OFWs from Traveling to the Country
GMA News reported that under Memorandum Circular No. 5, the following individuals are exempted from the entry ban:
- Holders of 9(c) visas
- Medical repatriation and their escort/s duly endorsed by the DFA-OUMWA or OWWA
- Distressed ROFs duly endorsed by DFA-OUMWA
- Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the NTF-COVID-19
The said decision is the latest in a series of measures taken in the last few weeks to curb the shocking increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Among these was the decision of some LGU’s, particularly Metro Manila, which was one of the regions hardest hit by the spike, to impose a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from March 15 to March 31.
In line with this, isolated lockdowns and strict bans on the sale of alcohol have also been implemented.
The spike was noted after the government eased restrictions on public transportation and some business establishments to restart the economy.
At present, the Philippines has recorded 117 cases, 90 cases of South Africa, 85 COVID-19 cases, and two mutations of concern.
On Monday (March 15), the health department noted that at least seven percent of the samples from COVID-19 cases in the country involved new variants of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the OCTA Research Group said the Philippines could see 11,000 new COVID-19 cases daily by the end of March as it noted an upward trend in infections.
The Philippines has reported a total of 631,320 confirmed cases, of which 560,736 have recovered and 12,848 have died.