The government's pandemic task force has placed 14 countries under its red list from Jan. 16 to 31, 2022, but unlike before, Filipinos from these territories will now be allowed to enter the Philippines subject to quarantine without the need for a "Bayanihan" flight.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made this announcement as the government addresses the spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country.
In his press briefing on Friday, Jan. 14, Nograles said the following territories will be under the red list from January 16 until the end of the month:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- French Guiana
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- US Virgin Islands
Meanwhile, the following will be under the green list during the same period:
- British Virgin Islands
- Côte d'Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- The Gambia
- Hong Kong
- Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
- Saint Barthélemy
- Sierra Leone
- Sint Eustatius
All other countries and territories not listed in other colored lists are under the yellow list.
New arrival protocols
Aside from this, Nograles announced that the government's pandemic task force has decided to allow Filipinos from red list countries to return to the Philippines without the need for Bayanihan flights but subject to quarantine.
Travelers will be required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours before their departure, and to undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the seventh day.
Before this policy change, Filipinos from red list countries can only return home via government and non-government initiated repatriation efforts and Bayanihan flights.
He explained that the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided to this change considering that the country already has cases of Omicron and in consideration of Filipinos who want to return home.
Another reason was with new protocols in place, the government can now be more assured that no COVID-positive individual will be able to come in.
"We are assured naman na mas mababantayan natin na kung positive man sila, if ever, then we can make sure na before we let them out of isolation or quarantine, then we're sure na wala na silang COVID (We are assured that we can monitor them and make sure that before we let them out of isolation or quarantine, they no longer have COVID)," Nograles said.
He stressed that foreign tourists from red list countries are still not allowed to enter the Philippines.
Meanwhile, fully vaccinated foreign travelers from green list countries and territories no longer have to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine, but will have to self-monitor for symptoms for seven days. They must also present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours before their flight to the Philippines.
In addition, starting February 16, foreign nationals will be required to present proof of full vaccination before being allowed to enter the country. The following, however, are exempted from this requirement:
- Children below 18 years old
- People who are medically unable to receive the vaccine, as certified by a competent public health authority in their country of origin
- Foreign diplomats and their qualified dependents or 9(e) visa holders