DFA issues strict health guidelines for consular offices
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has issued health protocols for its consular services in general community quarantine areas that would be resuming operations starting May 4.
In a statement, the DFA said its offices would observe physical distancing by scheduling appointments through e-mail.
“All applications for consular services, including those to be coursed through the Courtesy Lane as well as the Diplomatic and Official Passports section, are to be made by appointment via email unless otherwise indicated. Once the e-mail is sent, instructions will be given on how to proceed with the application,” read the statement.
Here are the guidelines for Consular Offices services:
- Customers are encouraged to use online payment for consular services. Otherwise, the usual payment process at consular offices would follow strict physical distancing.
- The collection of passports will be done through courier delivery if it is available in their region.
- For those not availing of courier delivery, the collection of passports and consular documents will be done strictly by appointment.
- Consular officials and security personnel will monitor the number of people inside the consular offices that physical distancing can be maintained.
- Companions of applicants for consular services will not be allowed entry, except for those who need assistance upon the determination of security personnel at the gate. Only one companion will be allowed per qualified applicant.
- In compliance with DOH guidelines, appropriate markers will be placed on the floor or at seating areas to ensure that applicants in the waiting area are at least 2 meters from each other.
- When presenting documents to the attending officer, applicants must lay down all documents on the counter and avoid handing documents directly to the officer.
- Applicants must leave the premises/office immediately once they have completed their transactions.
Meanwhile, here are the guidelines for customers or applicants of Consular Offices:
- Those who are 60 years old and above, those with compromised immune systems, and others considered by the Department of Health (DOH) to be vulnerable are advised NOT to proceed with their applications for consular services at this time. In cases of urgent need, they may wish to coordinate with OCA further on how they may be accommodated.
- Applicants who are not considered vulnerable and are otherwise healthy must wear masks in order to be allowed entry into the consular offices.
- All persons entering Consular Offices will be subjected to temperature checks at the entrance.
- Individuals with a body temperature above 37.5ºC or those exhibiting COVID-like symptoms (coughing, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhea, body pains) will not be allowed entry into the consular office and will be advised to return at a later date. In all other cases, the DFA reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone it deems a health or safety risk.
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