Foreigners from six more countries with the fast-transmitting COVID-19 variant are now banned from entering the Philippines.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente said the new restrictions apply for travelers who will arrive from Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil.
"The travel ban to these six countries started today, at midnight," said Morente.
These countries are in addition to the 21 which are subjects of travel restrictions earlier announced by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) in an effort to prevent the entry of travelers infected by the new coronavirus strain.
Morente disclosed that in view of the expanded restrictions, foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the six countries within 14 days from their arrival in the Philippines shall be prohibited from entering the country from Jan. 8 to Jan. 15.
“However, Filipino citizens who have been to these countries within 14 days before arrival in the Philippines shall be allowed entry, but shall undergo a strict 14-day quarantine,” the BI chief added.
Earlier, the government imposed a travel ban on passengers from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and the United States.
Lawyer Candy Tan, chief of the BI port operations, said that no foreign passengers from the additional six countries have arrived since the implementation of the expanded travel restriction earlier Thursday.
Meanwhile, the BI clarified that diplomats coming from the 27 restricted countries are allowed to enter the PH.
Tan stated that foreign diplomats and officials from international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations are exempted from the travel restriction.
“Those with 9(e) visas may be allowed entry without the need of an exemption or authorization from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). But those who present a diplomatic, official, or regular passport with no valid 9(e) visa may also be provided entry if they have a 9(a) visa and an authorization from the DFA,” Tan stated.
Apart from foreign diplomats, Tan explained those who are coming for medical and emergency cases, including their medical escorts, shall also be allowed entry provided that they have an entry visa.