Philippines allows non-essential foreign travel for nationals

The Philippine overnment has gradually eased restrictions on international and domestic travel as part of efforts to bolster the economy. (AFP)
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Updated 21 October 2020

Philippines allows non-essential foreign travel for nationals

  • Government gradually eases restrictions on international and domestic travel as part of efforts to bolster the economy

MANILA: The Philippines has lifted a ban on non-essential foreign trips by Filipinos, but the immigration bureau says the move did not immediately spark large numbers of departures for tourism and leisure.
The government has gradually eased restrictions on international and domestic travel as part of efforts to bolster the economy, which slipped into recession in the second quarter following months of lockdown and quarantine to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Travelers to other countries are required to show confirmed roundtrip tickets, travel and health insurance, a declaration acknowledging the risks of travel and trip delays and a medical test within 24 hours of departure that clears them of COVID-19.
Aside from tedious pre-departure requirements, many countries still restrict the entry of travelers from nations with high number of coronavirus infections, including the Philippines. The Department of Health has reported more than 360,000 confirmed cases, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, with at least 6,690 deaths.


Swedish mother ‘kept son locked up for decades’

Updated 01 December 2020

Swedish mother ‘kept son locked up for decades’

  • The man had infected sores on his legs, could barely walk, and had almost no teeth, limiting his ability to speak
  • The woman is suspected of illegal deprivation of liberty and causing bodily harm — allegations she denies

STOCKHOLM: A woman in Sweden suspected of holding her son captive inside their apartment for decades has been arrested, police said on Tuesday, with reports claiming the man was found undernourished with infected sores on his body and almost no teeth.
Stockholm police spokesman Ola Osterling told AFP the man had been “locked up for a very long time” in the apartment in a southern Stockholm suburb but refused to comment on local reports he had been held for 28 years.
Neighbours said they had not seen the son, now 41, for years — or ever.
Tove Boman, a 24-year-old who lives in the building next door, told AFP she had only seen the mother. “I grew up here so I’ve always known who she is and recognized her. She’s a little strange,” she said.
The Expressen and Aftonbladet newspapers reported that the woman had taken her son out of school when he was 12 and kept him locked inside the apartment since then.
An unnamed relative found the man on Sunday after the mother had been taken to hospital, Expressen reported.
The man had infected sores on his legs, could barely walk, and had almost no teeth, limiting his ability to speak, the reports said.
Osterling would not comment on those details, saying only: “The man is in hospital. His injuries are not life-threatening.”
The woman is suspected of illegal deprivation of liberty and causing bodily harm — allegations she denies.
Media reports suggested the mother was overly protective after having lost her firstborn son when he was three years old.
The relative said the mother had convinced the boy that everybody was out to get them and that she was the only one who could protect them.
The relative also told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper she had contacted social services several times over the years but was told no crime had been committed because the man was not physically locked up.
Police tape was stretched across the apartment’s door on Tuesday, and officers were seen leaving the scene around midday, an AFP photographer said.
The relative said the apartment, in a non-descript grey and yellow low-rise building in the working class suburb of Handen, looked like it had not been cleaned in years.
“There was urine, dirt and dust. It smelled rotten,” she told Expressen, adding that she had to wade through piles of rubbish to get through the hallways.
“I’m in shock, brokenhearted, but at the same time relieved. I’ve been waiting for this day for 20 years.”
Police are due to question the man and his mother in the coming days to determine what had happened.
Neighbours contacted by AFP expressed shock that the man could have been hidden for so long.
Kenth Svedberg said he had noticed an “unpleasant odour” coming from the apartment but it was “nothing I thought very much about.”
“What’s so scary is that it’s gone on for so many, many years,” he told AFP.
Many neighbors wondered why neither social services, the school nor any other authority ever checked in on the boy over the years.
One woman told Aftonbladet she found it odd that their window was never open, and the same candlestick had been in the window for 30 years.
“But what can you do? How do you know what’s going on behind closed doors? It’s all so awful, you can’t believe it’s true,” she said.