Sotto supports halt in issuance of visas upon arrival to Chinese nationals
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said he supports the decision of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday to suspend the issuance of visas upon arrival (VUA) to Chinese nationals amid the threat of the novel coronavirus or 2019-n-CoV.
“The decision of the Bureau of Immigration temporarily stopping the issuance of visa upon arrival especially for Chinese visitors is the best step towards controlling the entry of this virus in our country. It is good news to see that our government is taking a more proactive stance against this fast-spreading novel coronavirus,” he said in a statement.
He added the rising global threat of the virus is “something that we cannot look at a cavalier attitude.”
“The risks at stake are high and we need to act expeditiously to make sure that our country remains virus-free,” the senator said.
In a statement earlier Tuesday, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the suspension of VUA to Chinese nationals follows the temporary lockdown of several cities in China and the temporary shutdown of public transport services in select areas in an effort to contain the virus.
He said this is a “proactive measure to slow down travel, and possibly help prevent the entry of the 2019-nCoV” into the country.
A total of 106 people are dead and more than 4,515 cases have been confirmed in mainland China as of Tuesday afternoon, as a mysterious virus continues to spread in Asia and other countries.
There has been no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus here in the Philippines, but the Department of Health announced 24 patients, mostly Chinese nationals, are placed under investigation for possible infection of nCoV.
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