Philippines suspends all visas, stock market collapses on virus fears

The Philippines will temporarily stop issuing visas to all foreigners and cancel existing ones amid the global threat of the coronavirus disease, foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced in a Twitter message.

“Starting today [March 19], all our embassies and consulates will temporarily suspend visa issuance to all foreign nationals, as well as the visa-free privileges of all foreign nationals,” he wrote, adding that all previously issued Philippine visas to foreign nationals are deemed cancelled, exempt visas already issued to foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals.

Holders of diplomat visas issued by the Philippines and permanent resident visa holders are also exempt from the travel restrictions.

Foreigners were earlier given a time window of 72 hours to leave the locked down island of Luzon but this was later lifted so that anyone can fly out anytime, i.e. as long as international airports remain open.

The foreign ministry is further looking into temporarily halting all visa-free privileges it grants for about 100 nations including for visitors from the rest of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations which will translate into a total ban on the entry of all foreigners to the Philippines.

Biggest intraday loss in 33 years

Meanwhile, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index plunged as much as 24 per cent on March 19 following an unusual two-day shutdown. It was the biggest intraday loss in 33 years that brought the index to the lowest level since January 2012, its lowest valuation in eleven years. Overall, this month, the index dived by 40 per cent.

Foreign investors alone have sold $480.5 million net of local stocks this year, the fastest withdrawals since trading data has begun being tracked in 1999.

The declines came ahead of the central bank’s decision to cut its key rate by 50-basis points and amid concerns that a $528-million fiscal stimulus would not be enough to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Analysts say there is more volatility on the way.

The Philippines will temporarily stop issuing visas to all foreigners and cancel existing ones amid the global threat of the coronavirus disease, foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced in a Twitter message. “Starting today [March 19], all our embassies and consulates will temporarily suspend visa issuance to all foreign nationals, as well as the visa-free privileges of all foreign nationals,” he wrote, adding that all previously issued Philippine visas to foreign nationals are deemed cancelled, exempt visas already issued to foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals. Holders of diplomat visas issued by the Philippines and permanent resident visa...

The Philippines will temporarily stop issuing visas to all foreigners and cancel existing ones amid the global threat of the coronavirus disease, foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced in a Twitter message.

“Starting today [March 19], all our embassies and consulates will temporarily suspend visa issuance to all foreign nationals, as well as the visa-free privileges of all foreign nationals,” he wrote, adding that all previously issued Philippine visas to foreign nationals are deemed cancelled, exempt visas already issued to foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals.

Holders of diplomat visas issued by the Philippines and permanent resident visa holders are also exempt from the travel restrictions.

Foreigners were earlier given a time window of 72 hours to leave the locked down island of Luzon but this was later lifted so that anyone can fly out anytime, i.e. as long as international airports remain open.

The foreign ministry is further looking into temporarily halting all visa-free privileges it grants for about 100 nations including for visitors from the rest of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations which will translate into a total ban on the entry of all foreigners to the Philippines.

Biggest intraday loss in 33 years

Meanwhile, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index plunged as much as 24 per cent on March 19 following an unusual two-day shutdown. It was the biggest intraday loss in 33 years that brought the index to the lowest level since January 2012, its lowest valuation in eleven years. Overall, this month, the index dived by 40 per cent.

Foreign investors alone have sold $480.5 million net of local stocks this year, the fastest withdrawals since trading data has begun being tracked in 1999.

The declines came ahead of the central bank’s decision to cut its key rate by 50-basis points and amid concerns that a $528-million fiscal stimulus would not be enough to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Analysts say there is more volatility on the way.

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