Philippines temporarily bars incoming international passenger flights May 04, 2020 0 94 12345 DPAManilaThe Philippines on Sunday temporarily barred all incoming international passenger flights to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country and to free up quarantine facilities amid a surge in returning overseas workers.The restrictions will be in place for one week at all nine international airports in the country, according to a task force implementing the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.Cargo, sweeper, medical, utility and maintenance flights are exempted from the order.“This decision is meant to decongest our quarantine facilities to protect our people by preventing the further spread of COVID-19 and also ensure that our overseas Filipino workers are well taken cared of when they arrive from abroad,” said Carlito Galvez, chief of the task force.“The new flight restriction is only temporary and will be implemented for one week to give the government the opportunity to decongest the quarantine facilities in Metro Manila,” he added.According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, more than 24,000 overseas Filipino workers have returned to the country since the global pandemic began. More are awaiting repatriation flights, which will be adjusted with the new directive.“Overseas Filipino workers will remain where they are in the meantime,” said department spokesman Eduardo Menez. “For those who may already be at airports, they will be assisted as best possible under the circumstances.” There were 9,223 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines as of Sunday, including 607 deaths, according to the Department of Health.The Philippine government has imposed restrictions on travel, commerce and public gatherings since mid-March.Some restrictions have been eased in low-risk areas, allowing malls and public transport to operate at a reduced capacity.Mass gatherings are still not allowed, including religious activities. In some areas, people without authority or clearances to leave their homes have been arrested. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES North and South Korea exchange gunfire at border: Seoul May 04, 2020 0 625 Russia sees record rise as virus cases surge past 130,000 May 04, 2020 0 385 Rohingya refugees relocated to controversial Bangladesh island after weeks at sea May 04, 2020 0 102 Nine killed in Indian Kashmir gun battles AFP Srinagar Five security personnel and four suspected militants have been killed in two gun battles in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said on Sunday. Tensions are high in the restive Himalayan region .. Journalist faces Malaysian police grilling for migrant coverage DPA Kuala Lumpur Malaysia’s communications and multimedia minister said on Sunday that he will ask officials not to “act against” a journalist facing police action for an article reporting on the arrests of hundreds .. Some Thai businesses reopen as public warned not to ‘let guard down’ DPA Bangkok Thailand partially reopened for business on Sunday, with people allowed to return to restaurants, markets, parks and sports clubs, as the government eased measures against the novel coronavirus, but also .. Nearly 100,000 evacuated after Uzbekistan dam bursts Tashkent Nearly 100,000 people have been displaced in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan after an Uzbek dam burst, flooding thousands of homes and destroying agricultural fields. The wall of the Sardoba reservoir dam in .. South Korea to ease social distancing rules AFP Seoul South Korea said Sunday it will loosen social distancing rules this week to allow gatherings and events to take place after the number of new coronavirus cases dropped significantly in recent days. The country .. India’s military salutes virus workers with rose petals, flypasts New Delhi Helicopters showered masked health workers with rose petals and jets roared across the skies Sunday as India’s military paid tribute to frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic. In one of the first .. Hong Kong to give all 7.4 million citizens reusable masks DPA Hong Kong Hong Kong’s government will distribute reusable face masks to all 7.4 million citizens next week as the territory prepares to lift a first round of coronavirus-related restrictions. The planned handouts ..