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Manila:

 
The Philippines will allow the entry of foreign nationals with long-term visas into the country from August 1, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday.

In a statement, Roque said the inter-agency coronavirus task force on Thursday approved the decision, while foreign nationals must comply with the conditions set by the task force before they can enter the country, reports Xinhua news agency.

“They must first have valid and existing visas at the time of the entry. This means no new entry visa shall be accepted,” Roque said.

He added that foreign nationals are “subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, as returning overseas Filipinos will be given priority”.

Moreover, he said they “must also secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and a pre-booked coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing provider”.

Foreigners, except accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents, had not been allowed entry into the country since March 22.

The Philippines imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The declaration of lockdown restricted land, air, and sea travel and suspended mass transportation.

Airport closures have led to the suspension of all incoming and outgoing flights, except for international and domestic sweeper flights to repatriate foreigners out of the Philippines and to bring in Filipino workers stranded abroad.

The country is still under varying levels of lockdown as it grapples with a steady increase of COVID-19 cases.

The Philippines now has 61,266 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,643 deaths and 21,440 recoveries.

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