The Philippine government has prohibited the entry of foreigners from countries where the new COVID-19 variants, said to be more transmissible than the dominant one, have been detected.
Malacañang first imposed travel restrictions on countries with reported cases of variant B117, first discovered in London and believed to be the cause of the recent surge of coronavirus infections in Europe.
The Palace later expanded its restrictions to cover countries with the South African variant, also known as mutation E484K.
Both the new UK and South African variants appear to be more contagious, experts said, which means tougher restrictions may be needed to curb transmission. There is no conclusive research yet if it causes more severe cases of COVID-19, according to medical professionals.
The Daily Tribune lists the states and territories covered by the government’s travel restrictions, based on announcements of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who also serves as the mouthpiece of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Foreigners from the following countries or traveling in these areas 14 days before their expected arrival in the country will be barred from entering the Philippine territory until January 15:
– Hong Kong
– South Africa
– South Korea
– The Netherlands
– United Kingdom
– United States
Filipino citizens from the countries listed above are allowed to enter the Philippines.
Also exempted from restrictions are accredited diplomats and representatives of international entities such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations, as well as foreign dignitaries, their medical escorts, and those for medical and emergency cases.
However, they are all required to observe existing protocols upon arrival such as the 14-day quarantine period regardless of their COVID-19 swab test results.
Meanwhile, all passengers, Filipinos or foreigners alike, merely transiting through countries covered by travel restrictions will not be considered as having come from or having been to those areas if they merely stayed in the airport the whole time. They should not be cleared for entry by the immigration authorities of the said country covered by the Philippines’ travel restrictions.
They will not be required to complete a two-week facility-based quarantine and may be allowed to undergo home quarantine after securing a negative swab test result at their point of entry.
Unaccompanied minors can’t return until January 15
Unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens returning to the country from countries facing travel restrictions will be denied entry into the Philippines until January 15, unless such a minor is returning through the government’s repatriation program.
Minors under the repatriation program will be turned over to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration house parent who will be in charge of the minor’s safety. They are tasked to coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This list will be updated, since the health department said restrictions will continuously expand to other countries with reported cases of the new COVID-19 variants.
Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph