Philippines to Allow Some Foreign Groups of Travellers from August 1st

Philippine, Manila, Post COVID, borders

The Philippines will ease a bit its regulation for the entry of foreign travellers from August 1st. It is a first step to the reopening of the country.

The Philippines will allow the entry of foreign nationals with long-term visas into the country from August 1, the presidential spokesman said on Friday, as the country gradually relaxes some coronavirus restrictions in a bid to support the economy.

Foreigners with valid and existing visas would need to undergo quarantine upon arrival, said Harry Roque, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte.

The government’s pandemic task force, which approved the policy last Thursday, also required foreign nationals to secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and a pre-booked coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing provider in the Philippines.

Long-term visa holders refer to foreigners living and working in the country, Roque told Reuters. The new policy comes a week after the government eased travel restrictions for Filipinos, allowing them to travel abroad even for tourism-related trips. Intra-islan domestic trips have also been allowed since the end of June.

Applications for new entry visas will not be accepted and returning Filipinos will have priority on inbound flights given existing caps on airport capacity, the task force said.

The Bureau of Immigration banned the entry of foreigners into the country in March to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Only Filipinos as well as foreign diplomats were allowed to enter.

On July 16, the country breached the 60,000-mark for its tally of COVID-19 cases. On Sunday, July 19th, the archipelago had reported 67,456 cases of the virus,, up by 2,241 compared to the previous day and 1,831 related deaths up by 58 compared to the previous day . It shows a sudden spike in cases after relatively stable numbers over the last four weeks. The Philippines ranks second in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia in terms of the number of infections and deaths.

(Partial source: Reuters)