Philippines' Bureau of Immigration (BI) has
confirmed that the visa upon arrival (VUA) service has been
temporarily suspended for Chinese nationals.
The decision, made over concerns of the novel
coronavirus (2019-nCoV), follows the lockdown of several cities in
China in an effort to contain the virus.
“The Civil Aeronautics Board has already
suspended direct flights from Wuhan province,” said BI
Commissioner, Jaime Morente. “We are now temporarily suspending
the issuance of VUA for Chinese nationals to slow down the influx
of group tours.”
The VUA service is often used by Chinese tour
groups, and many other nationalities, visiting Philippines as it
saves the hassle of having to get a visa before travelling.
A similar move was done by Taiwan Immigration
authorities, who, according to an article by the Taipei Times,
cancelled permits for 429 people in 24 tour groups from Wuhan,
orente has however clarified that there is
no order barring Chinese nationals from entering the country.
“We have not received any directive imposing
policy changes on Chinese nationals,” said Morente. “But we are
taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly
help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCov into the country.”
“It is the Bureau of Quarantine who conducts
monitoring of arriving passengers to see if they are manifesting
symptoms of the corona virus. They have put up measures in place
to strictly check arriving passengers,” Morente added. “They have
been very active in giving out information to frontline port
personnel on how to prevent the transmission of the virus, given
the risk of direct contact with possible carriers.”
At press time, 106 people had died of the virus in
China and there were 4,535 confirmed nCoV
cases in the country and 52 outside of China.