China reopens borders to Filipinos vaccinated with Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines

Published March 16, 2021, 7:45 AM

by Jaleen Ramos

The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Monday, March 15, said it will now allow the processing of visa applications for Filipinos who have been vaccinated with China-made COVID-19 vaccines to resume orderly cross-border travel.

People watch the sunset at the Hou Hai Lake in Beijing on October 28, 2020. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)

“To make visa facilitation arrangements for foreigners fully vaccinated with Chinese COVID-19 vaccines is a helpful effort, based on full consideration of safety and efficacy, to facilitate the cross-border personnel exchanges after massive vaccination,” the embassy said in its Facebook post.

“#China stands ready to discuss with other countries, including the #Philippines, on establishing mutual recognition mechanisms for health certificates to facilitate the issuance of visas,” the statement added.

The embassy added that it will make “cross-border travel much easier and contribute to the healthy, safe, and orderly people-to-people exchanges.”

Visa applicants travelling to China for business can submit requirements issued before the pandemic, the embassy said.

The scope of visa applicants for emergency humanitarian needs was also expanded and will now cover “foreign family members of Chinese nationals or foreign nationals with Chinese permanent resident permit, including spouse, parents, children, and other dependent close relatives (siblings, grandparents and grandchildren), traveling to China for family reunion, family support, family visit, funeral of relatives, or visiting relatives in critical medical condition.”

Holders of a valid APEC Business Travel Card could also apply for M visa with an invitation from the inviting entity.

The Chinese embassy said it will pay close attention to the vaccination progress and the issuance of COVID-19 vaccination certificates in the Philippines.

“The Chinese embassy will keep close contacts with the relevant Philippine authorities on establishing a mechanism for verifying vaccination certificates, discussing a mutual recognition mechanism for international travel health certificates, to facilitate healthy, safe, and orderly bilateral personnel exchanges,” the statement read.

Passengers flying to China are still required to provide the negative certificates of nucleic acid tests and IgM antibody tests before boarding and are subject to quarantine protocols, it added.

On February 28, the Philippines received around 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines that were donated by the Chinese government to kick off its inoculation program.

Malacanang on Sunday, March 14 said the country could expect one million more Sinovac doses secured by the government this month.

Another 400,000 Chinese-donated vaccines are also expected to arrive in the country.