IATF to revise list of 'green' countries; here's why

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will revise its list of "green" countries in connection with the persisting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque presides over the virtual press briefing on Oct. 14, 2021.(Screenshot from Facebook live)

The Palace official admitted Thursday, Oct. 14 that the current list of green countries or territories would hardly benefit Filipinos travelers since they rarely come from those places.

"Yung green list rerepasuhin po yan pagdating po ng 16. So mamayang hapon po pag-uusapan at titignan nga kung ano yung mga nasa green list (We will revise the green list by Oct. 16. So later this afternoon, we will discuss it and look at the countries on the green list)," Roque said in a virtual press conference.

Green-list nations and jurisdictions are classified as “low risk” based on COVID-19 incidence rate and case count. As such, travelers coming from these countries are made to accomplish less stringent quarantine protocols upon arriving in the Philippines.

"Kanina na-interview ako at natawa na lang kaming dalawa kasi kasama doon sa mga green list ang country katulad ng Nauru, Eritrea, Tajikistan, Tonga...tinanong ako, 'Napakadami bang Pilipino ang nanggagaling dito?' (I was interviewed earlier and we just laughed because the green countries included Nauru, Eritrea, Tajikistan, Tonga...I was asked, 'Are there a lot of Filipinos coming from these places?)" Roque said.

"So sinasabi ko, effectivity niya for one day kasi bukas irerepaso yung list ng green list at tsaka kakaunti lang po talaga ang Pilipino na nanggagaling o kahit sinong mga byahero nanggagaling dito sa mga green-list countries (So what I'm saying is, it will only be effective for one day because by tomorrow we will have revised the green list since there are really only a few Filipinos travelers, or travelers at all, who come from these green-list countries)," he noted.

He said that the current green list does contain countries that are more popular to Filipinos, like China and New Zealand.

Roque clarified that the United States (US) is a "yellow-list" country, or a place tagged as moderate risk based on COVID-19 incidence rate and case count.

Meanwhile, "red-list" nations are considered “high risk” for COVID-19 based on the same metrics.

Roque promised that the IATF will be responsive in updating its green, yellow, and red list in the interest of keeping the population safe.

"Wala naman pong permanent resolution tayo. Kung mayroon talagang tumaas na kaso sa mga bansang green list, pupuwede naman pong repasuhin ang polisiya (No resolution from us is permanent. If COVID cases shoot up in green list counties, we can change the policy)," he said.