PH gov't to clarify rules on Hong Kong's 'lifting of travel ban' for OFWs – DFA spox

Published August 9, 2021, 11:58 AM

by Roy Mabasa

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said the Philippine government will clarify with Hong Kong authorities certain rules concerning the lifting of the travel ban for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who wish to return to work in the former Crown Colony.

Department of Foreign Affairs

“Initial report seems to confirm this (lifting of travel ban) but there are still conditions needing clarification,” DFA Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Eduardo Meñez told the Manila Bulletin.

Meñez cited, for instance, the requirement of Hong Kong authorities for returning OFWs to present a “recognized” vaccination card.

He said it is yet to be determined whether the yellow card or the vaccination passport being issued by the Department of Health’s Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) will be recognized in Hong Kong.

It was reported on Sunday that Hong Kong is ready to lift the travel ban for the nearly 3,000 OFWs currently stranded in the Philippines who wish to return to work there provided they are fully vaccinated.

“HK authorities are looking for a ‘recognized’ vaccination card – still being determined if the BOQ issued yellow vaccination card will be recognized by HK authorities – so nothing clear yet,” Meñez said.

The DFA official also noted the need to clarify with Hong Kong authorities the length of quarantine period required for OFWs.

It was reported that Hong Kong still requires a 14-day quarantine even for fully vaccinated workers upon arrival in the special administrative region.

Meñez, however, said it appears that there will still be a 21-day quarantine period upon checking at the HK airport webpage.

An estimated 220,000 OFWs are currently in Hong Kong and only less than 50 percent had availed themselves of the vaccine.