Thursday, October 15, 2020

PH, China agree to open 'fast lane' for essential workers

THE PHILIPPINE  and Chinese governments have agreed to set up a fast lane for smoother "two-way personnel exchanges" amid the pandemic, the Chinese Embassy in Manila announced Thursday. 

The agreement was made between Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during Locsin’s official trip to China.

"The fast lane will facilitate, with due safeguards, the movement of essential travel by personnel in crucial industries, such as business and trade, infrastructure, logistics, production, and technical services, between the two countries," the Chinese Embassy in Manila said.

China has set up similar fast lanes with the Republic of Korea, Germany, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said operational details would still have to be fleshed out by the implementing agencies under the guidance of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

"We are hoping to get more clarity on the matter in the days to come," the department said.

Several countries, including China and the Philippines, were forced to close their international borders to foreign visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Last month, China began to allow foreigners with valid residence permits for work, personal matters, and reunion to enter the country without needing to re-apply for new visas. (By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)