MECO imposes extra requirements for visa applications to PH amid new coronavirus | Global News
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MECO imposes extra requirements for visa applications to PH amid new coronavirus

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 06:24 PM February 05, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan will impose additional requirements for visa applications from Taiwanese and other foreign nationals who plan on traveling to the Philippines amid the threat of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

In a statement on Wednesday, MECO chairman and resident representative Angelito Banayo said the agency will deploy precautionary measures through their consular services “to prevent the worsening of the 2019-nCoV.”

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Starting this Saturday, February 8, Taiwanese travelers will be required to submit a certification from the country’s National Immigration Agency of their recent travel history.

This will allow consular service officers to “determine if they have previously been to the places where the temporary ban has been imposed,” the statement read.

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However, the same will not be required from other foreign nationals residing in Taiwan since their passports may be scrutinized of their previous entry or exit records to China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

MECO noted that Taiwanese passports are not subject to entry and exit stamps in entering and leaving mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau as they are only issued an entry form.

Banayo said this makes it difficult for MECO’s consular services to determine previous travel to restricted areas.

The issuance of multiple entry visas will also be suspended as a precautionary measure as long as the 2019-nCoV still exists, he added.

MECO assured that precautionary measures would be imposed in coordination with the Bureau of Immigration.

The 2019-nCoV outbreak, which first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province, has now infected more than 24,500 people globally.

In the Philippines, three Chinese have so far been confirmed infected by the novel coronavirus. One of them, a 44-year-old man died on February 1 due to severe pneumonia. All three came from Wuhan and visited the Philippines for vacation.

Meanwhile, 63 Filipinos are among the 133 patients under investigation for possible 2019-nCoV. Of the number, 54 are Chinese while 16 others are from other countries.

Edited by KGA

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