MANILA, March 17 (Reuters) - The Philippines’ coronavirus task force said it will suspend the arrival of foreigners and some returning citizens as the Southeast Asian country battles a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases and increasing infections of new variants.

Foreign citizens and returning nationals who had not been working overseas will not be able to enter the country from March 20 until April 19, the coronavirus task force said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.

The exemptions to the rule include accredited officials of foreign governments, Filipino workers returning from overseas and cases that are considered to be an emergency.

The Philippines’ Civil Aeronautics Board on Tuesday capped passenger arrivals at Manila’s international airport to a maximum of 1,500 per day from March 18 to April 19 to help contain the spread of COVID-19, which has infected 631,320 people and killed 12,848 in the country.