THE United States Department of State has issued a travel advisory against the Philippines due to a “very high level of Covid-19” cases.
The advisory also urged “increased caution” due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest and kidnapping.
It further noted that travel restrictions are already in place in the Philippines.
All foreign travelers are prohibited from entering the Philippines until April 30, 2021, as a measure against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) transmission.
Exempted from this temporary prohibition are diplomats and members of international organizations as well as their dependents, medical repatriation teams, seafarers for crew change, foreign parents/spouses/children of Filipino citizens, emergency and humanitarian teams, and foreign nationals with entry exemption documents.
The US travel advisory states that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the Philippines due to Covid-19, indicating a very high level of Covid-19 in the country.
Specifically, the US prohibits travel to Sulu, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest and kidnapping.
It also disallows travel to Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.
US citizens are urged to reconsider travel to other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest and kidnapping.
“Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines. Terrorist and armed groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities,” it stated.
The US said it has limited ability to provide emergency services to its citizens in the Sulu Archipelago, Sulu Sea and the rest of Mindanao as US government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas.
The US also noted that the Philippines is under a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao.
As of April 20, the Philippines had 953,106 Covid-19 cases, of which 127,006 were active. New infections average around 10,000 a day. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)