BI turns away 36 Chinese from Macau

February 08, 2020

BUREAU of Immigration (BI) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Friday barred from entering the country 36 Chinese nationals who came from Macau, which is covered by the travel ban imposed over the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) acute respiratory disease outbreak.

In a report to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina yesterday said the Chinese passengers were refused entry at the NAIA terminal 1 upon their arrival on a Philippine Airlines flight from Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“They were denied entry after our officers discovered upon inspection that they were traveling as a group and that they have been to Macau last Feb. 1,” Medina said.

Under the travel ban, foreigners will not be allowed to enter the Philippines if within the past 14 days they have traveled either to China, Macau or Hong Kong.

Medina said all 36 passengers were initially turned over to the Bureau of Quarantine for inspection and later excluded and booked on the first available flight to Phnom Penh.

Morente reiterated his appeal to airlines and shipping firms to “do their share in implementing the travel ban and prevent the entry of foreigners from the areas of concern”.

All airlines and ships have been instructed not to board passengers covered by the ban and, according to Morente, they are studying the possibility of imposing fines for violations.

Meanwhile, the BI said it is now requiring both foreign and Filipino passengers from abroad to completely fill out and submit their arrival cards while undergoing immigration arrival formalities by BI officers.

Morente earlier instructed all immigration duty supervisors in the different airports to strictly enforce the new policy so that the bureau can ably assist health and police authorities in tracking down passengers who have recently been to the areas of concern.