PH adds UAE, Hungary to travel ban

Published January 15, 2021, 6:55 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Philippine government expanded the ongoing travel ban to include the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Hungary due to the new and more contagious COVID-19 variant, Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

In a statement, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the Office of the President has prohibited the entry of foreign passengers coming from or who have been to UAE and Hungary within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines starting Sunday, January 17, 2021.

Foreign travelers entering the Philippines before January 17 will be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result.

Filipino citizens coming from, or who have been to the two countries will still be allowed to enter the Philippines but will be required to undergo a 14-day facility-based quarantine regardless of the result of their RT-PCR test.

Filipino and foreign passengers merely transiting through the UAE and Hungary shall be covered by the rules as provided for in the memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated December 31, 2020.

Earlier, the government extended the travel ban to January 31, 2021. A total of 34 countries are now covered.

Unaccompanied minors

Meanwhile, Roque said that all unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens coming from all countries included in the existing temporary travel ban shall not be allowed to board all airlines until January 31, 2021.

Minors returning through the repatriation program of the national government, however, will be allowed to enter the country but will be turned over to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration house parent who, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), shall ensure the minors’ safety and their observance of quarantine protocols.

On the other hand, all unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens who land on Philippine airports, notwithstanding the prohibition against boarding, shall not be sent back to their port of departure.

They, however, would be turned over to an authorized DSWD officer who can ensure their safety and observance to quarantine protocols.