March 19, 2020 / 9:38 AM / 19 days ago

Philippines to ban entry of foreigners over coronavirus, 'no exceptions' - minister

Passengers wearing masks queue to enter the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, amid fears of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading in Philippines, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines is stopping the issuance of visas to foreigners, banning all nationalities from entering the country to halt the spread of coronavirus, its foreign minister said on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on Twitter that he had signed an order stopping the issuance of visas domestically and in all foreign posts. Locsin did not give a timeframe for the measures.

“This goes one imperative step forward: a total ban on incoming foreign visitors of all nationalities no exceptions,” Locsin said, adding that outgoing foreign visitors will be allowed to leave.

The Philippines has recorded 217 coronavirus infections and 17 deaths, mostly of which were reported in the past two weeks. More than half of the country’s 107 million population is under a month-long quarantine.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Toby Chopra

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