The Philippine government has extended the ban on the entry of foreign travelers with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. defending it was a necessary measure to prevent the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the country from getting worse.
The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has decided to extend the ban on the entry of foreign nationals into the Philippines until the end of the month.
In a tweet, Locsin said the extension of the travel ban was a necessary step but added that things are looking up for the third quarter of the year.
“Sad but it’s gotta be done. No vaccines yet. But there is hope that will change in 3rd quarter,” he tweeted Saturday morning.
The travel ban was initially set until April 21 but was extended to April 30 but the IATF said foreign nationals with valid entry exemption documents issued prior to March 22, 2021, may enter the country.
Based on IATF Resolution No. 103: the following are also allowed to enter the country:
- Diplomats and members of international organizations and their dependents 9(c) or 47(a)(2) visa at the time of entry
- Foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation
- Foreign seafarers under the “Green Lanes” program for crew change
- Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens with valid visas at the time of entry
- Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19
Meanwhile, Locsin said that National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon was right to propose rapid testing as early as March 2020.
“That would have organized and put in place a half-a-million force of rapid testers for vaccination,” he said.
Locsin, citing a report, said that while rapid tests are unreliable to determine who is negative, it is reliable in exposing who is positive, “which is what most matters.”
“False negative misleads the tested; a positive positive singles out the infectors for isolation,” he said.