The Philippines is barring entry to foreigners, and to any of its nationals currently abroad and who are not classified as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), from March 20 until April 19, amid a rise in Covid-19 infection cases in the country, according to the government’s own news outlet.
The Entertainment City casino zone in the capital Manila has been able to conduct limited gaming operations despite a general community quarantine currently being in force in Metro Manila until March 31. The large-scale private-sector casino resorts had in pre-pandemic times, targeted inbound foreign tourists as in important source of gaming revenue.
The country’s entry ban on foreigners was “in view of the rising Covid-19 cases,” and the detection in the country of “coronavirus variants”, from overseas, said the country’s presidential spokesperson Harry Roque as cited on Wednesday by the Philippine News Agency, a government newswire. Mr Roque added the government was looking to “avoid overcrowding” in the country’s quarantine facilities.
Exemptions from the entry ban apply respectively to: seafarers on a ship docking in a port of entry in the Philippines; those undergoing medical repatriation – and their escorts – as approved by the Philippine government; “distressed” returning overseas Filipino workers as endorsed by the Philippine government; and emergency or humanitarian cases approved by the country’s National Task Force Against Covid-19.
The country’s Civil Aeronautics Board has previously issued a directive to airlines, that limits to 1,500 daily, the number of inbound passengers from overseas, at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (pictured). The rule applies from Thursday (March 18) until April 18, local media reports said.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines had recorded over 4,000 new cases of infection within 24 hours, according to the country’s Ministry of Health. It took the aggregate of cases nationally since the start of the crisis, to 631,320.
Entertainment City-based casino resort Okada Manila said in a Wednesday advisory note that the property is not letting in “pregnant women”, those with “comorbidity” or other “health risks”, and people “below 18 years old” for March 17 to March 31, in “compliance” with what it termed a “government mandate”.
The property is accepting hotel “staycation” bookings by guests, provided they undergo a “same-day, rapid, antigen test” and can present a negative result of such a test, prior to check-in, the advisory notice stated.
City of Dreams Manila, also located in Entertainment City, stated in its safety advisory notice, that visitors with comorbidities or that were currently pregnant, were not permitted to use the property for a staycation. Anyone that has booked hotel accommodation there will also be required to present a negative result from a rapid antigen test, which must have been conducted on the same day as their intended check-in.
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