Philippines to let in foreigners with long-term visas from August

Citizens undergo coronavirus testing in a quarantined community in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on May 11, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Jul 17, 2020, Kyodo. The Philippines will allow foreigners who hold long-term visas to enter the country from August, the government said Friday, as it continues to grapple with a rising number of coronavirus cases, Kyodo News reported.

Under the measure approved Thursday by the national task force handling the pandemic, foreigners must have valid and existing visas at the time of entry, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

“This means no new entry visa shall be accepted,” Roque said, adding they must also have pre-booked accommodations at an accredited quarantine facility, and an appointment with a virus test provider.

The Philippines banned the entry of foreigners from abroad in March to curb the spread of the new virus.

As the country moved to ease quarantine measures in June, calls were growing from foreign companies doing business in the country for an early easing of entry restrictions.

“This is good, encouraging news for us,” said Takashi Ishihara, executive director of the Manila office of the Japan External Trade Organization.

Ishihara had noted earlier that many of the Japanese companies operating in the Philippines need to have their Japanese staff return to the Southeast Asian country.

The Philippines reported 2,498 new virus cases on Thursday, with 61,266 confirmed cases so far. The University of the Philippines estimates the total would reach around 80,000 by the end of this month.

Roque, during a daily briefing on Thursday, said Metro Manila might return to lockdown if daily cases do not decrease in the next two weeks.

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