BI, airlines implement expanded travel ban amid nCoV jitters
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced Sunday evening the implementation of the expanded travel ban on visitors from China, Hong Kong, and Macau in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to contain the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“We have immediately implemented the expanded travel ban, hence all foreign nationals, regardless of their nationality, who will be coming from China and its Special Administrative Regions shall be turned back and not allowed to enter the Philippines,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.
Based on Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea’s earlier statement, Morente clarified that Filipino nationals and Philippine permanent resident visa holders will be allowed to enter “subject to a 14 day quarantine, to be implemented by the Bureau of Quarantine.”
Also part of the ban is the departure of Filipinos bound for China and its Special Administrative Regions, which Morente said covers all visa types.
“We have sent a notice to airlines and shipping agents requiring them to screen passengers before boarding to restrict the arrival of aliens who have visited the areas of concern in the past 14 days,” said Morente.
Following the expanded travel ban, several airlines have released statements canceling flights to and from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Philippine Airlines has canceled all flights between Manila and Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Quanzhou (Jinjiang), and Macau effective immediately until February 29.
Affected passengers may either refund their tickets with service fees waived or rebook their flights with rebooking service fees waived once the ban is lifted.
Cebu Pacific also canceled flights between the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Macau effective immediately until February 29 and all flights to and from mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and Shenzen) until March 29.
Affected passengers may rebook their flight, refund the tickets in full, or store the value of the ticket in a travel fund for future use.
AirAsia has also suspended its flights between the Philippines and China, which include all flights to/from Manila, Kalibo, and Cebu to/from Guangzhou, Shenzen, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau.
The AirAsia cancellation will start today until further notice. Affected passengers may move their flight, credit their account, or obtain a full refund.
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