Palace officially includes US in travel ban list due to new COVID-19 variant

Published January 1, 2021, 5:32 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Philippines has officially included the United States in the list of countries covered by a travel ban amid the emergence of the new variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday, January 1, that President Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to prohibit the entry of foreigners coming from the US to keep the new coronavirus variant, that was first detected in the United Kingdom, out of the country’s borders.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Foreign passengers coming from the US, or those who have been to the US within 14 days before their arrival in the Philippines, will be prohibited from entering the country starting January 3, 12:01 a.m. (Manila time), until January 15, 2021, Roque said.

Those arriving from the US before 12:01 a.m. of January 3, will be allowed to enter the Philippines, but must undergo an absolute, facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they have already obtained a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test result.

Meanwhile, Filipino citizens coming from the US, or those who have been to the US within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those arriving January 3, 2021, shall be allowed into the country. 

But the same rule will apply. They will be required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine regardless of the result of their RT-PCR tests.

Malacanang has also provided the following the following rules for Filipinos and foreign passengers, who will be merely transiting through a country covered by travel restrictions:

a. All passengers, Filipinos or foreigners alike, merely transiting through any of the countries covered by the Memorandum of the Executive Secretary, dated 29 December 2020, and other succeeding memos, shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to that country, provided the passengers stayed in the airport the whole time and they were not cleared for entry by the immigration authorities of the said country covered by our travel restrictions.

b. The abovementioned passengers (in A) who arrive in the Philippines are not required to complete a 14-day facility-based quarantine and may be allowed home quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test result at point of entry.  

c. Transiting foreign passengers who left the airport or were cleared for entry into the country covered by our travel restrictions shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines. 

d. Transiting Filipino citizens who left the airport or were cleared for entry into the country covered by our travel restrictions shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.  However, they shall be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result.

The Philippines earlier postponed the inclusion of the US in the list of countries covered by travel restrictions pending Duterte’s approval of the recommendation by the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

In late December, Duterte decided to extend the temporary ban on flights coming from the United Kingdom to January 15, 2021 to prevent the new coronavirus variant from reaching the country’s shores.

The government first suspended flights from the UK from December 24 to December 31.

Later, airport authorities also announced the ban on the entry of travelers from 19 other countries where cases of infection from the new COVID-19 strain were recorded.

Scientists have raised alarm over the new coronavirus variant which they found was more contagious.

 
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