Travelers from these 20 Countries Banned from Entering the Philippines

Published December 30th, 2020 - 02:00 GMT
Travelers from these 20 Countries Banned from Entering the Philippines
The same applies to travelers who have been to the places included in the list within 14 days preceding their arrival in the Philippines. (Shutterstock)
Travelers from 19 countries in addition to the UK will be banned from entering the Philippines in light of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant, which experts fear is more contagious.
 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday that these countries include Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Canada and Spain.

Malacanang in a statement said that all foreign travelers coming from or transiting through the aforementioned countries are banned from entering the Philippines effective Dec. 30 at 12:01 a.m. through Jan. 15, 2021.

The same applies to travelers who have been to the places included in the list within 14 days preceding their arrival in the Philippines.

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning home are exempt from the restrictions.

“The recommendation of the (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) is to restrict even the OFWs, but the president said, ‘No, our OFWs should be allowed to return.’ So that’s the decision of the president. He was very firm in deciding that the restriction will only apply to other travelers from the UK and the 20 other countries and he exempted the OFWs because he said, ‘I want our OFWs to go home to their families,’” the secretary said.

Bello emphasized that Filipinos who are not migrant workers, however, would not be exempt from the restrictions, which means they would also be banned from coming into the country.

On why the president gave special consideration to OFWs, Bello cited the fact that they are regarded as local “modern-day heroes.”

He said that as many as 100,000 or more OFWs are expected to return to the country. So far, Bello explained, the government had already brought home more than 388,000 Filipino workers since the pandemic broke out early this year.

Bello added that while OFWs are exempt from the ban, they are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon return to the country, even if their swab tests should show that they do not have COVID-19. The same applies to OFWs who have already received vaccination for the virus.

Meanwhile, Governor Abdusakur Tan of the Sulu province in the southern Philippines has sought the help of President Rodrigo Duterte in asking Kuala Lumpur to suspend the repatriation of thousands of undocumented Filipinos from Sabah after the detection of the new COVID-19 strain in Malaysia.

He also disclosed their plan to impose a lockdown in the province to prevent the entry of people coming from Sabah, which is very close to the Sulu province. In a televised press briefing, Tan expressed grave concern over the possibility that the new COVID-19 variant, which experts fear is more contagious, could reach the island province, noting that they do not have sufficient medical facilities.

“We have no other health facilities like what they have in Zamboanga. Here, we only have a level 1 hospital. That’s why we really need to implement preventive measures,” explained Tan.

The government had earlier imposed a restriction on travelers coming from the UK following reports on the new virus strain. The ban is in effect from Dec. 24 until Dec. 31. With the additional measures to address the new COVID-19 variant, however, the temporary suspension of flights and ban on entry of all travelers coming from or transiting through the UK is extended until Jan. 15, 2021.


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