Philippines halts visas on arrival for Chinese on coronavirus fears

The Philippines ‘visa upon arrival’ facility has been offered to Chinese nationals since 2017, in an effort to boost tourism. (AFP)
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Updated 28 January 2020

Philippines halts visas on arrival for Chinese on coronavirus fears

  • There have been no confirmed cases in the Philippines since the coronavirus outbreak began in China’s central city of Wuhan
  • Infections have been confirmed in Japan, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam

MANILA: The Philippines stopped issuing visas on arrival to Chinese nationals on Tuesday, in a bid to keep the southeast Asian nation free of a new virus that has killed 106 and infected more than 4,500 since emerging in China in December.
There have been no confirmed cases in the Philippines since the coronavirus outbreak began in China’s central city of Wuhan, but infections have been confirmed in Japan, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
“We are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCov,” Jaime Morente, the commissioner of the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration, said in a statement, referring to the virus.
There is no order barring Chinese nationals from entering the Philippines, however, Morente added.
He did not say when the facility would be resumed. Chinese nationals can still apply for visas at any Philippine embassy or consulate at their places of residence.
Health authorities are monitoring more than 11 suspected cases of the new coronavirus, they said on Tuesday.
The “visa upon arrival” facility has been offered to Chinese nationals since 2017, in an effort to boost tourism. Those eligible included investors and businessmen, athletes, delegates to international conventions and tour groups.
Chinese tourists accounted for 22 percent of the 7.5 million visitors to the Philippines between January and November last year, making China the second top nation of origin for international travelers to the country.

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Sri Lanka shuts parliament after coronavirus case detected

Updated 26 October 2020

Sri Lanka shuts parliament after coronavirus case detected

  • Parliament was closed for two days as a precautionary measure so the premises can be disinfected

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s parliament was closed on Monday in order to disinfect the premises after a police officer at the complex tested positive for the coronavirus amid a new surge of the virus in the country.
Parliament was closed for two days as a precautionary measure so the premises can be disinfected, said Narendra Fernando, the Parliament’s sergeant of arms. Close associates of the officer were also tested, with the results expected later Monday. An additional 22 Parliament staffers will be tested on Tuesday, Fernando said.
Sri Lanka has seen a fresh outbreak of the virus since early this month, when a new cluster emerged centered at a garment factory near Colombo, the capital.
On Monday, 351 new cases were confirmed in the Indian Ocean island nation. Most of the new infections are related to the garment factory cluster, which has grown to 4,400 cases, more than half the country’s total of 7,872. One fatality was reported on Sunday, raising Sri Lanka’s death toll to 16.
In a bid to contain the spread, the government has imposed curfews in many parts of densely populated Western province, where the garment factory and Colombo are located, and where most new cases have been detected.
The government also has closed schools, banned gatherings and imposed restrictions on public transport across the entire country.