Chinese nationals leave a Chinese airline office after securing their return flight at the internatinal airport in Manila on February 3, 2020. The Philippines on February 2 reported the first death from the new coronavirus outside mainland China, as China said February 3 it urgently needed medical equipment and surgical masks as the death toll jumped above 360, making it more deadly than the SARS crisis nearly two decades ago.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Flights from China only carry Filipinos, foreigners with permanent visas — Immigration
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - February 7, 2020 - 11:52am

MANILA, Philippines — Flights from parts of China arriving to the country amid a travel ban only carry Filipinos and foreign nationals with permanent resident visas in the country, the Bureau of Immigration said.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval explained that some international airlines have continued operations from China to Philippines. This comes amid social media posts reporting continuing arrival of flights from China even with the travel ban still in effect.

In a message to Philstar.com, Sandoval stressed that the flights “may only carry Filipinos and foreign nationals who are carrying permanent resident visas to the country, as well as foreign nationals to the areas of concern.”

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a ban against arrivals from China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.

Duterte issued the directive morning of Sunday, February 2, the same day the Philippines reported its first death due to the virus outbreak that originated from Hubei province, China.

Foreign passengers with travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau within 14 days before arrival in Philippines are also barred from entering the country.

The Immigration bureau, however, explained that Filipino citizens and Alien Permanent Status holders are not covered by the ban.

Those who are exempted from the travel ban, including flight crew, “shall be turned over to the Quarantine Bureau for their assessment, together with a copy of their arrival cards.”

While travelling to China and its SARs are temporarily suspended, BI said that the following may be allowed to depart the Philippines:

  • A part of government delegation conducting official duties
  • member of the World Health Organization
  • member of other agencies involved in fighting and containing the spread the virus

Chinese nationals in Boracay

Sandoval also said that the Immigration bureau immediately looked into the Inquirer.net report that said Chinese tourists are still arriving in Boracay Island amid the travel ban from China, Macau and Hong Kong.

She said they verified with their airport and seaport personnel in Kalibo and nearby areas that no flights from China arrived since the travel ban.

“In fact, most airlines and shipping have already cancelled their routes from the affected areas,” she said.

“Said Chinese nationals, most probably arrived before the ban, or are among those who are already living or working in the area,” Sandoval added.

She urged the public to be more vigilant in sharing posts that “might confuse or incite panic.”

The Health department reported three confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with one fatality in the country. It is monitoring 178 persons under investigation.

Chinese government death toll, meanwhile, is at 636, with 31,161 total infections in their country. 

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