Philippines suspending issuance of visas to residents of Hubei, nCoV epicenter
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Embassy in China will stop issuing visas to residents of Hubei province including the ca[pital city of Wuhan, and any Chinese nationals with recent travel history to the center of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCov).
Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana said the suspension of the issuance of visas will start on Monday once the consular offices reopen following China’s week-long Chinese New Year holidays.
“When we re-open on Monday, we have received the directive from DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), no visas to be issued to residents of Wuhan, residents of Hubei and Chinese citizens with recent travel history to Wuhan or Hubei,” Sta. Romana said Thursday in an interview on ANC.
Sta. Romana did not specify until when the embassy will suspend issuance of visas to residents of these areas.
The Bureau of Immigration earlier stopped issuing visas upon arrival on Chinese nationals in a bid to keep the Philippines free of the deadly virus.
Several lawmakers also called on Malacañang to ban travel to the country by Chinese from Wuhan and other cities in China where there are confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Sta. Romana said there is no need to impose a ban on Chinese tourists since the Chinese government has already declared the prohibition of tour groups.
“The Chinese government has already declared last week. There’s been a total ban on travel by travel groups outside China so I expect a drastic reduction in the number of Chinese tourists coming here (Philippines),” Sta. Romana said.
“That’s why a travel ban in a sense is not needed. Because a travel ban has been imposed by the Chinese government itself and its citizens,” he added.
Over 170 individuals have so far perished due to the novel coronavirus as of Thursday, while more than 7,000 individuals have already been infected.
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