DFA mulls suspending visa issuance during enhanced community quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is considering the suspension of visa issuance during the month-long “lockdown” in Luzon over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, according to Manila’s top diplomat.
In a tweet Wednesday night, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the department is also looking into the possibility of suspending visa-free privilege except for country’s belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“DFA considering suspension of visa free privilege except for ASEAN. Also stopping visa issuance worldwide during period of lockdown,” Locsin said.
“AND NO MORE VISA UPON ARRIVAL EVEN IF WE STAMP PASSPORTS WITH DFA STAMP SHOWING MOST OF SOUTH CHINA SEA & PACIFIC UP TO GUAM AS PH TERRITORY,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continue to increase.
The said quarantine took effect on March 17 and will be in effect until April 13.
This measure means strict home quarantine will be implemented in all households; suspension of public transportation; regulation of the provision for food and essential services; and a heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce the quarantine.
The Department of Health has so far reported 202 COVID-19 cases in the country, including 17 deaths and seven recoveries.
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