Philippine authorities to hand over passports and documents to foreigners who travel to China
The Philippines has been cracking down on travellers who travel abroad without a valid visa and passport, a government official said on Monday.
The move comes amid growing concerns over an outbreak of coronavirus in China, where the disease has killed at least 5,000 people since March and forced tens of thousands of foreigners to seek refuge abroad.
“We are sending out a letter to all foreigners who wish to travel to Vigan province, and to other areas of China, that they must provide proof of residency, such as a passport, residence permit, employment certificate, travel document and residence permit,” Health Secretary Marlon Samudio said in a statement on Monday evening.
“If they do not, we will not issue visas for them.”
Sammadio did not specify how many visas would be issued or when a list would be made public.
But the announcement comes as President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to withhold visas from those who travel overseas without a visa and passports.
The government said it had received more than 600,000 letters from overseas visitors in the past two weeks, up from 300,000 last month.
More than 90,000 Chinese citizens have been detained in the Philippines since March, with a majority being accused of entering the country without visas or passports.
The government has detained at least 4,939 people in connection with the outbreak, according to data compiled by the country’s public health agency.
The Philippines has taken steps to ensure that the majority of foreigners living in Vigan do not travel abroad, including requiring the issuance of new passports.
The country also introduced a travel warning to tourists and warned them to be on guard for possible coronaviral complications.
It also plans to set up a special hotline for travellers, with the goal of identifying those who may be at risk.More: