OFWs barred from entering China amid COVID-19

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    OVERSEAS Filipino workers (OFWs) are among those currently prohibited from entering China amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Based on Advisory No. 152-2020, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said China has imposed a temporary suspension of entry for non-Chinese nationals from selected nations.

    “The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Philippines has issued a notice temporarily suspending the entry into China of non-Chinese nationals in the Philippines holding visas or residence permits still valid as of November 5, 2020,” said POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia.

    “The Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the Philippines will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Form for individuals belonging to the said categories,” he added.

    Exempted from the ban are the holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C visas.

    Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs, on the other hand, may apply for visas at Chinese Embassy or Consulates.

    Olalia said the order is in response to the recent surge in imported COVID-19 cases in China.

    “The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of COVID-19,” he explained.

    He said the policy is subjected to regular assessment.

    “The measures will be assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be announced accordingly,” said Olalia.

    Aside from the Philippines, other countries covered by the order are Bangladesh, Belgium, Ethiopia, France, India, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

    In recent weeks, China has seen a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases, majority of which came from abroad.