By Roy Mabasa
While the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to trigger travel restrictions across continents, Filipinos are advised to remain vigilant and accurately informed as South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have adopted tighter measures for those entering their respective countries.
In an advisory, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the South African government will require all travelers who entered via “high risk” countries (China, France, Germany, Iran Italy, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States) since February 15, to present themselves for testing.
“All foreign travelers (to South Africa) with ordinary passports, regardless of compliance with visa requirements, traveling from or transiting through high-risk countries, is prohibited until further notice. Visas already issued are revoked with immediate effect,” the DFA said.
The South African government also temporarily suspended visa waiver agreements with countries it considered as high- and medium-risk.
While the restrictions do not apply to holders of diplomatic, official, and service passports issued by international organizations as well as their family members accredited to South Africa, crew members of aircraft and cargo ships, as well as cross-border rail and road transportation workers, they, however, will be subjected to medical screening and if required, can be isolated or quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has suspended the entry of all valid visa holders including residency visa holders who are currently out of the country.
Tourist or visit visas or newly-issued work visas which have not been utilized for entry to the UAE on or before March 17 are deemed canceled.