Flights from 19 countries suspended until January 15
More stringent measures as new COVID-19 strains discovered
MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque today said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the extension of the temporary suspension of flights from as well the prohibition of entry on all travelers from or transiting through the United Kingdom until January 15,2021.
Effected 12:01 A.M. tomorrow, December 30 until January 15,2021, all foreign travelers are prohibited from entering the country from 19 countries , or transiting through within 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines. The countries are Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada and Spain.
Secretary Roque said effective immediately, passengers who are already in transit and arrive before December 20, 2020, 12:01 A.M. from the 19 countries mentioned earlier, including those who have been to the same places within 14 days immediately preceding shall be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result.
Filipinos coming from countries mentioned earlier, or who have been to the same countries or areas within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines will be allowed entry into the country but will be required to undergo absolute facility0based 14 day quarantine period, even though they tested negative in the RT-PCR tests.
The Office of the President, upon the joint recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), may impose restrictions to travelers coming from other countries that report the presence of the new variant of COVID-19.
Secretary Roque said outbound travel to countries with registered new variants will be subject to existing protocols of the Philippines and the entry protocols of the countries of destination.
Laboratories at the points of entry have been directed to submit specimens of travelers form countries with reported cases of the new variant of COVID-19 to the Philippine Genome Center, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health. In addition, the RITM has been told to develop and Standard Operating Procedure/Response for reports of new variants of COVID-19.
According to the statement, the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have been directed to ensure the strict observance of quarantine and testing protocols for overseas Filipinos and provide line list of the local government units to ensure adherence to the 14-day quarantine. The DOH-COVID Surveillance and Quick Action Team must provide a copy of their case profile as well as trend analysis.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been instructed to ensure all other inbound international travelers from countries not mentioned in the ban should strict finish their 14-day quarantine following the existing quarantine protocols, which allow home quarantine after being told of a negative RT-PCR test result at the point of entry. (Melo M. Acuña)
Secretary Harry Roque (Screen Grab from Malacanang Press Briefing/Melo M. Acuna)