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Malaysia bars Pinoys over COVID-19 fears

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
Malaysia bars Pinoys over COVID-19 fears
The ban comes in the wake of DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin’s announcement last week of his plan to revive an office in the DFA dedicated to claiming Sabah after Malaysia issued a note verbale on the claim last week.
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MANILA, Philippines — Starting today, long-term pass holders from the Philippines, India and Indonesia will be barred from entering Malaysia due to “serious concerns over the recent increase in the number of confirmed imported COVID-19 cases from these countries,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

The ban comes in the wake of DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin’s announcement last week of his plan to revive an office in the DFA dedicated to claiming Sabah after Malaysia issued a note verbale on the claim last week.

Locsin had brought up the revival of the Office of North Borneo Affairs following a series of tweets in which he alleged that there had been “repeated offers” to drop the Philippine claim over Sabah.

The new travel restrictions were imposed on Filipino travelers entering Malaysia as well as those boarding Qatar Airways flights.

Previous information on travel restrictions for other countries and regions remains the same.

The confirmed “imported COVID-19 cases” were detected at the international points of entry of Malaysia among travelers proceeding “from the Philippines, India and Indonesia.”

Filipino long-term pass holders affected include permanent residents, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) pass holders, expatriates in all categories such as professional visit pass (PVP) holders, resident pass holders, spouse visa holders (including their children) and students.

Malaysian immigration authorities, however, may consider entry of nationals from other countries on compassionate grounds and emergencies.

Meanwhile, diplomats and their dependents from the three countries are exempted from the new restriction, provided prior approval was obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

The DFA said Qatar Airways recently announced that all passengers from the Philippines are required to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR before they are allowed to board their flights.

Those unable to comply with this requirement, which shall be presented with a consent form, will not be allowed to board the airline’s flights.

“Given all these developments, the DFA continues to remind the public that information contained in the infographics is subject to change without prior and sufficient public notice,” it said.

The department advised Filipino travelers to check ahead of travel dates with airlines as well as with embassies or consulates before booking a ticket and before departure.

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