Foreign travelers from China, 4 other countries temporarily banned

Published January 12, 2021, 7:43 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Foreign travelers from China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and Oman will be prohibited from entering the Philippines starting Wednesday in a bid to stem the spread of a more infectious coronavirus variant.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced Tuesday that the travel restrictions on these five countries will take effect on Jan.13 at noon until Jan. 15 subject to the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The inclusion of the five countries now brings the number of nations covered by the travel curbs to 33.

“From the Office of the Executive Secretary, kasama na po ang People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman  sa mga bansa na mayroong bagong COVID-19 variant at pinagbabawal ang mga pagpasok ng mga dayuhan galing sa mga bansang ito. (From the Office of the Executive Secretary, the People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman are now among the countries with new COVID-19 variant. The entry of foreign travelers from these countries is prohibited),” he said during a televised press briefing.

“The travel restrictions are jointly recommended by the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs,” he added.

Roque said Filipinos coming from these countries can still return to the Philippines but subject to a facility-based quarantine for 14 days regardless of the results of the polymerase chain reaction test.

The Philippines earlier imposed travel restrictions on foreign visitors from 28 countries, including the United Kingdom where the coronavirus strain was first detected last month.

The countries covered by the travel restrictions until Jan. 15 are the following:  Austria, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, United States, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and United Kingdom. 

Exempted from the travel restrictions are returning Filipinos, foreign diplomats and dignitaries provided they undergo coronavirus testing and quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in the country.