MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines, which has the highest number of coronavirus infections in the region, regrets but respects Malaysia’s decision to ban the entry of its citizens as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.
“That’s a sovereign decision, who will be allowed to enter one’s territory,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing Thursday.
“I’m not saying we’re happy, I’m saying we regret the decision but we respect the sovereign decision of Malaysia,” he added.
The ban will take effect on Monday and will also cover citizens of India, which has the third highest number of infections worldwide; and Indonesia, the second most affected country by the pandemic in Southeast Asia. It will affect permanent residents, students, expatriates and family members of Malaysians, Malaysian officials said.
The Philippines already has more than 226,000 coronavirus cases with more than 3,600 deaths while Indonesia has more than 180,000 infections, including more than 7,600 fatalities. Malaysia has so far recorded more than 9,000 cases, including 128 deaths.
India, meanwhile, has logged more than 3.8 million cases with more than 67,000 deaths. It is only behind the United States with 6.12 million cases and more than 185,000 fatalities and Brazil, which has recorded nearly four million infections, including more than 123,000 deaths.
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