PH halts issuance of ‘visa upon arrival’ to Chinese nationals

first_imgMANILA – Amid coronavirus scare, theBureau of Immigration temporarily stopped the issuance of tourist visas toChinese nationals. The virus is believed to have originatedlate last year in a food market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Chinese nationals cannot enter the Philippines as easily as before following the issuance of a new immigration order which temporarily suspends ‘visa upon arrival’ facility in all gateways across the country. UNTV “It is also a way to prevent Chinesenationals, who could be carriers of the virus, from visiting the country,” sheadded. Coronavirus infections have a wide rangeof symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathingdifficulties. Severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratorysyndrome, kidney failure and death. “We are taking the proactive measure toslow down travel and possibly help prevent the entry of the novel coronavirus,”Morente said. According to the Jan. 26 situationreport of the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 2,014 cases of2019-nCoV have been reported globally, 1,985 of which were from China. The 2019-nCoV was first reported inWuhan City, China on Dec. 31, 2019. Symptoms of this new strain include fever,cough, and difficulty in breathing. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, saidthe continuous spread of the virus should prompt the Department of ForeignAffairs (DFA) to be on alert for possible evacuations of Filipinos working inWuhan, China. Last Thursday, the World HealthOrganization called the outbreak an emergency for China, but stopped short ofdesignating it a global emergency. According to Gatchalian, it is importantfor DFA to locate the Filipinos ahead of a possible evacuation and they should alsoconstantly monitor the situation in Wuhan of overseas Filipino workers (OFWS) sothat the government can address their needs. Many of thosewho died had pre-existing medical conditions or were elderly,authorities have said. The total number of confirmed cases inChina rose about 30 percent to 2,744, about half of them in the centralprovince of Hubei, whose capital is Wuhan. “We have to prepare for anyeventuality,” Gatchalian said. “Nakakabahalaang mabilis na pagkalat ng coronavirus saiba’t ibang bahagi ng mundo at mahalagang may regular din dapat na ibinibigayna balita ang DFA tungkol sakaligtasan ng ating mga OFW.” Cases have also been reported in HongKong, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States, as well as Australia,Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. Nodeaths have been reported outside China. This move aims to ensure the new virus –officially known as 2019-nCoV – will not enter the country, ImmigrationCommissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement on Tuesday. Chinese researchers believe it may havebeen transmitted to humans from snakes, which in turn may have got it frombats. Both animals were known to have been sold at the market. (With Reuters/PN)last_img

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