20 more countries included in travel ban due to new virus strain

The Philippine added 20 more countries included in the travel ban concerning the new strain initially originated in the United Kingdom.

“We expanded the ban to 20 countries. Hahaba po ang listhahan na ‘yan,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told reporters during an inspection of Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals.

Duque said the list could further expand, adding countries that would report a COVID-19 case due to the new variant of the coronavirus.

In advisory effective midnight of December 29,2020, all passengers coming from the following countries would not be allowed to enter the Philippines:

  • United Kingdom
  • Switzerland
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • South Africa
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Spain
  • Lebanon
  • Canada
  • Sweden
  • France

The travel ban would be until January 15, 2021.

20 more countries included in travel ban due to new virus strain

“Passengers already in transit or who had been in any of the flagged countries within 14 days from entry into the Philippines and who arrive before December 30, 2020, will be allowed entry but they shall be subjected to strict quarantine and testing protocols (mandatory 14-day quarantine in OWWA and accredited facilities) despite getting a negative RT-PCR result,” the DOTr said.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are exempted from the travel ban.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases gave the guidelines on the travel ban to the Office of Transport Security on Monday night, according to administrator Raul Del Rosario.

“Mayroong mga 20 bansa na maaaring mayroon nang infection ng new variant kaya itong mga pasaherong galing sa mga 20 bansa na ito ay binabantayan din natin,” Del Rosario said at a Laging Handa briefing.

“Ang naging kautusan ng IATF ay kung pupuwede, magkakaroon tayo ng ban na epektibo sa 30 December. Ang mga pinaparating natin ngayon ay ‘yung mga in transit na, in flight na,” he added.

Del Rosario said the 14-day quarantine is still required for travelers who already arrived before the travel ban, this is even if they tested negative for COVID-19.

“Kapag hindi nagkaroon ng symptoms saka pa lang sila puwedeng makaalis [sa quarantine facility],” Del Rosario said.