House minority leader barred from boarding Saudi flight due to travel ban
MANILA, Philippines — House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. was barred from boarding a Saudi Arabia-bound plane in an airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to an imposed travel ban amid the threat of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-2019).
Abante said he was bound for Saudi Arabia for an official trip following an invitation of a group of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there to discuss and hold a consultation about the proposed bill establishing the Department of OFWs.
“Hindi kami pinayagang mag-board ng airline sa dahilang nakatanggap sila ng advisory sa Saudi government na pigilan ang mga tourists at mga visitors dahilan sa COVID-19,” Abante said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
As of Thursday night (Manila time), Abante said he is still in Dubai after the Philippine Consulate helped him secure a UAE visa.
“Naghihintay pa rin ako ng advice sa ating consulate sa Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) na ma-lift ang ban today upang matuloy kami sa dahilang di naman ako turista kundi official ng ating pamahalaan upang makipagusap sa ating mga OFWs sa KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia),” Abante said.
As of Thursday night, there are over 82,400 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with over 2,800 deaths.
Most of the cases are still from mainland China, with over 78,400 residents being infected.
In the Philippines, there have been three cases and one death.
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