Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that he has ordered that the visa upon arrival (VUA) facility to be temporarily suspended following concerns on the spread of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

The move, according to the BI, follows the travel lockdown in several cities in China, shutting down public transport services in several areas in an effort to contain the virus.

READ: List of countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus

“The Civil Aeronautics Board has already suspended direct flights from Wuhan province,” said Morente. “We are now temporarily suspending the issuance of VUA for Chinese nationals to slow down the influx of group tours,” he added.

The VUA facility, said Morente, is often used by Chinese tour groups in visiting the Philippines.

A similar move was done by Taiwan Immigration authorities, who, according to an article by the Taipei Times, cancelled permits for 429 people in 24 tour groups from Wuhan, China.

However, Morente clarified that there is no order barring Chinese nationals from entering the country. “We have not received any directive imposing policy changes on Chinese nationals,” said Morente. “But we are taking this proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCov,” he stated.


Should there be policy changes pertaining to foreign policy, said Morente, it would be through the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Office of the President, as advised by the Department of Health.

Morente likewise clarified their role in inspecting suspected carriers of the virus at the ports. “It is the Bureau of Quarantine who conducts monitoring of arriving passengers to see if they are manifesting symptoms of the corona virus. They have put up measures in place to strictly check arriving passengers,” he shared. “They have been very active in giving information to frontline port personnel on how to prevent the transmission of the virus, given the risk of direct contact with possible carriers,” he added.

He stated that the “BI is always ready to assist the BOQ and the DOH in securing whatever information that they need in order to prevent the entry of this sickness in the country.”

Know more about 2019 Coronavirus:

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