Philippines to ban entry of foreigners over coronavirus, ‘no exceptions’: official

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MANILA (Reuters) — The Philippines is stopping the issuance of visas to foreigners, banning all nationalities from entering the country to halt the spread of coronavirus, its top diplomat said on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on Twitter that he had signed an order stopping the issuance of visas domestically and in all foreign posts. Locsin did not give a timeframe for the measures.

A motorcycle passes an almost empty street in front of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene as the enhanced community quarantine is enforced to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in downtown Manila on Thursday. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.  AP

“This goes one imperative step forward: a total ban on incoming foreign visitors of all nationalities no exceptions,” Locsin said, adding that outgoing foreign visitors will be allowed to leave.

The Philippines has recorded 217 coronavirus infections and 17 deaths, mostly of which were reported in the past two weeks. More than half of the country’s 107 million population is under a month-long quarantine.