PH expands visa suspension for travelers from China, Hong Kong, Macau

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines expanded its suspension of visa issuance to cover all foreigners coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macau, amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Sunday, February 2, that the suspension now includes foreigners who:

"Foreign nationals with visa-free entry privileges to the Philippines, falling under abovementioned categories, are likewise covered by the temporary travel ban imposed by the Philippine government," the DFA added.

The latest announcement comes after President Rodrigo Duterte also expanded the Philippines' ban on travelers to cover any person coming directly from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

The Philippines' initial travel ban only covered those coming from Wuhan City, the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, and the rest of Hubei province. The DFA's initial suspension of visa issuance also only covered Hubei.

The Bureau of Immigration also earlier announced the temporary suspension of the visa upon arrival mechanism for Chinese tourists and businessmen.

Philippine health authorities confirmed on Sunday the second case of novel coronavirus in the country – the first death due to 2019-nCoV outside China. (READ: Coronavirus: What we know about first death outside China)

In China, the virus has killed at least 304 people and infected over 14,300 people. It has spread to other countries in the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, and the Middle East. – Rappler.com