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Philippines Shutting Borders From Arriving International Passengers Due To Surge In Coronavirus Cases

Foreigners and locals who are not overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are forbidden from entering the Philippines starting this Saturday, March 20, the country’s National Task Force Against Covid-19 declared last night. This is to control the number of cases that have surged for the past few days.

The government will also restrict the number of international arrivals to 1,500 passengers each day. Memorandum Circular No. 5, s. 2021 declared the following passengers are excused from the ban:

  • Holders of 9 (c) visas
  • Medical repatriates and their government-endorsed escorts
  • Distressed returning overseas Filipinos who the Philippine government has endorsed
  • Emergency, humanitarian, and other “analogous cases” approved by the task force

The ban, which is anticipated to end on April 19, is the country’s latest step implemented to regulate the surge of COVID-19 cases, which experts assumed could reach 11,000 each day. Early this week, a 10 pm to 5 am curfew has been implemented in the National Capital Region (NCR), the epicenter of the country’s pandemic.

The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID cases in Southeast Asia, 631,320 recorded yesterday, including 12,848 deaths and 560,736 recoveries. The Duterte government has commenced its vaccination program, which was the last in the region to do so.

The government has borrowed millions of dollars to fund its vaccination program but only donated vials of Sinovac and AstraZeneca have been acquired.

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