China is reportedly now shutting its doors to people coming from the Philippines in response to the significant rise in coronavirus cases chalked up there in recent months.
As of Nov. 22, the tally of confirmed Covid19 cases, per figures from the Department of Health, stood at 418,818, which by far is the highest in the southeast Asian region.
The Philippines, however, is only one of several other countries – including Great Britain, Belgium and Bangladesh – to have been slapped such stringent restrictions over Covid concerns which make going there quite difficult.
State media announced that the “temporary” travel ban would affect non-Chinese nationals as well as those holding long-term residence permits, but would not apply to diplomatic staff.
This new ban is a reversal of an order last Sept. 28 by Beijing permitting entry for all foreigners with valid residence permits. Last March, China imposed a total ban on all foreigners in response to the Covid threat.
Wire reports said Chinese authorities are quite wary of the fact that many countries are plagued by a second Covid wave and would not want their citizens to undergo the same thing as this could stymie the economic renaissance they are currently experiencing, hence the precautions.
Just the other week, online retail giant Alibaba reportedly hauled in a staggering $75 billion during their annual Singles Day sale shopping bonanza (the equivalent of Black Friday in the U.S.) which was 26 percent more than what was realized during the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.
Ironically, early last February 2020, it was the Philippines that issued a ban on persons coming from China, Hong Kong and Macau in reaction to the surge of Covid cases there.
Back then, the country was relatively virus-free with confirmed cases at a very manageable level, while the figures in China (where Covid is supposed to have originated) were going through the roof.
Now the shoe is on the other foot.
Photo: Gulf News