PH adds France to ‘red list’ amid Omicron threat

Published December 8, 2021, 7:44 PM

by Raymund Antonio

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved the inclusion of France on the Philippines’ “red list”, which was updated amid the looming threat of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

(Jansen Romero/MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

This was after France confirmed 25 cases of the potentially highly transmissible new variant.

The Philippines will ban passengers coming from or who have been to France within the last 14 days prior to arrival in the country, regardless of vaccination status, beginning Dec. 13, 2021 until the end of Dec. 15, 2021.

But passengers who will arrive on or after 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 10, but before 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 13 will be “required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with an RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test on the 7th day, with day one being the date of arrival”.

“Notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result, the completion of the 14-day quarantine is required,” Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesman Karlo Nograles said.

Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation, as well as Bayanihan Flights, may be allowed entry.

Their entry, however, will be subject to existing testing and quarantine protocols for red list countries/territories/jurisdictions.

Aside from France, the country’s red list includes South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy. The current list is in effect until Dec. 15.

READ: 14 countries now in PH’s red list until Dec. 15 due to COVID-19 Omicron variant

The travel ban is also requiring minors, regardless of their vaccination status, to follow the testing and quarantine protocols of the parent/guardian traveling with them.

Children three years old and below are exempted from the requirement of presenting a negative RT-PCR test result before boarding the flight, unless symptomatic, regardless of the country of origin.

Travelers who arrived before Dec. 10 and currently undergoing quarantine will not be affected by the new protocols.

They will need to “complete the testing and quarantine protocols in effect at the time of their arrival”, Nograles said.

READ: PH maintains policy on restricting foreign travelers amid Omicron variant concerns

Transit passengers passing through France will be allowed to enter the Philippines “if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into such country by its immigration authorities”.

“Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall comply with the applicable testing and quarantine protocols for passengers who have not been to any red list country/territory/jurisdiction,” he said.