Mindanao Times

Temporary travel ban from China explained


MANILA -- Aviation authoritie­s on Sunday afternoon clarified issues concerning the temporary travel ban on visitors from China and its Special Administra­tive Regions (SAR) -- Hong Kong and Macao.

How can Filipinos go home now that airlines have canceled services to Chinese destinatio­ns? What would happen to travelers or Chinese citizens who came here after the temporary travel ban announceme­nt?

Civil Aeronautic­s Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said the ban was directed to the travelers and not to the airlines. However, since there has been an increasing concern about the spread of the novel coronaviru­s (2019 nCoV), carriers were prompted to cancel flights to and from China.

"CAB has received a significan­t number of flight cancellati­ons," he said in a press conference, noting the decline in the market as many people would not want to go to China.

He said Filipinos and permanent resident visa holders may still travel to the Philippine­s if there is an available flight or fly via another country.

"There are two ways: (take) a direct flight or fly via a third country. If there is an available regular flight, they could take it. Repatriati­on will take place if they wish to come home and there is no available regular flight," he said.

Since the directive was issued on Sunday morning, Manila Internatio­nal Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal confirmed that there were some flights from Hong Kong that landed in Manila a few minutes after MIAA received the directive.

"The decision of the Bureau of Immigratio­n (BI) and Bureau of Quarantine was to send them (foreigners from China) back," Monreal said.

The directive covers temporary ban of any person regardless of nationalit­y, except Filipino citizens and permanent resident visa holders issued by the Philippine government directly coming from China or SAR; any person regardless of nationalit­y, except Filipino citizen and permanent resident visa holders, who within 14 days immediatel­y preceding arrival in the Philippine­s, has been to China or its Special Administra­tive Regions.

"Since the ban says no entry for foreigners, they will be sent back (to their flight of origin) once they come here. This would depend on the airlines if there would be an available flight. If there's none, they could probably use the same airline that took them here, if it would agree to take them back," BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina said.

Monreal said all arriving Filipinos and permanent resident visa holders from China should undergo a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine.

A temporary ban on Filipinos from travel to China and its special administra­tive regions was also imposed.

As of Sunday night, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Philippine­s canceled flights between the Philippine­s and China and its special administra­tive regions.

AirAsia canceled flights from Manila and Kalibo to mainland China cities (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Shanghai), Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR until March 1, 2020.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines