MANILA – Despite the travel restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, foreigners with valid visas can enter the Philippines but are subject to strict health and quarantine protocols, Malacañang said on Friday.
This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) amended its earlier resolution on all foreign travelers covered by travel restrictions imposed due to the new Covid-19 variant.
The IATF-EID, in its Resolution 95, allowed foreigners with valid visas, including personnel of accredited international organizations, and spouse and minor children of Filipino citizens, to visit the Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
“Those who arrive for medical and emergency cases, including their medical escorts, if any, are now subject to applicable testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH),” Roque said.
On Jan. 15, the Philippines extended the travel ban on over 30 countries with confirmed cases of B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant, otherwise known as the United Kingdom (UK) variant, until the end of January.
Included in the travel ban list are UK, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Hungary.
The travel restriction was implemented after the country recorded the first case of the new variant.
The Department of Foreign Affairs on Jan. 17 warned the public against unscrupulous individuals offering fake travel exemption certificates to foreigners who wish to enter the Philippines.
Strict testing, quarantine rules
Roque said the IATF-EID also amended the testing and quarantine protocols for Filipinos coming from countries included in the travel ban list.
“From the strict observation of an absolute 14-day facility-based quarantine period for Filipino citizens coming from areas where travel restrictions are in place, the IATF amended this to prescribed testing and quarantine protocols.,” he said.
Roque said Filipino citizens arriving for “highly exceptional and/or medical reasons,” as well as local diplomats, are now subject to “applicable quarantine protocols as prescribed by the DOH.”
He added that incoming passengers coming from or transiting through the banned countries shall be tested upon arrival and shall be quarantined until the result of the subsequent test administered on the fifth day is released.
Meanwhile, Roque said the IATF-EID also ratified the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for Covid-19.
Roque did not elaborate on the ratified plan but said it would serve as a “guide for vaccination implementers,” including the local government units. (PNA)