Travel ban extended to Jan. 31

Published January 15, 2021, 11:57 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Foreigners from 32 countries not allowed to enter PH 


The Philippines has extended its travel ban on 32 countries until January 31, 2021, due to the new COVID-19 variants, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced on Friday.

(Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Foreign travelers from the following countries will not be allowed to enter the Philippines until the end of the month:

  • The United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • The People’s Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • United States of America
  • Portugal
  • India
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Jordan
  • Brazil
  • Austria
  • Pakistan
  • Jamaica
  • Luxembourg
  • Oman

The ban, however, does not include the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Roque said President Duterte will be the one to announce if UAE should be included in the travel ban. 

“The President will be the one to declare that, if ever. [The] list is for extension of restrictions and not for new,” he said. 

Malacañang said on Thursday that the inclusion of the UAE in the travel ban was likely following the detection of the UK variant in a Filipino who traveled from the Arab nation. 

Filipinos from the countries included in the ban will still be allowed to enter the Philippines. 

The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to strictly implement issuances against airlines that allow the boarding of passengers who are prohibited from entering the Philippines. 

The IATF, in coordination with other agencies, may issue implementing guidelines on the exemptions to these entry restrictions. 

Contact tracing, quarantine protocols 

The IATF has expanded the contact tracing protocols to third-generation contacts for known new variant cases. 

All identified close contacts are required to undergo a strict facility-based 14-day quarantine while remaining contacts from the flight manifest shall be advised of the appropriate quarantine protocols. 

Roque said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was directed to issue advisories to local government units (LGUs) to prepare and strengthen the maintenance of their quarantine facilities. 

The DILG is also directed to ensure the proper enforcement of the StaySafe. ph system used by LGUs for ease of contact tracing. 

Those who are found to be positive, apart from the prescribed testing and quarantine protocols, shall undergo whole-genome sequencing to be conducted by the Department of Health (DOH), University of the Philippines Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH). 

The IATF has directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the DOTr OneStop-Shop to ensure that appropriate protocols are implemented for all those found to be positive of the new COVID-19 variants.

In addition, the IATF approved the continuation of weekly genomic bio surveillance activities of the DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH among incoming passengers and local cases, prioritizing hospitalized patients, re-infected patients, and those in clusters. 

The IATF has directed the convening of a small working group as soon as possible to resolve issues on funding, availability, and use of quarantine facilities, and eventual handling by LGUs of arriving overseas Filipinos. 

The DOH shall be the lead in this working group.

 
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