The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said it would implement the travel ban which the government extended to 20 countries to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 strain which originated from the United Kingdom.
Below is the press release of BI posted on their Facebook page:
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced on Tuesday the restriction of passengers from 20 countries as an additional measure to limit the spread of the reported new variant of the COVID-19 virus.
According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, the travel restriction was a result of an order from Malacanang extending the travel ban from those coming from the United Kingdom, as well as expanding the scope to include 19 other countries.
It can be recalled that flights from the UK have been suspended since December 24. Said suspension has been extended until January 15, 2021. Consequently, passengers coming from the said country, as well as those who have been there 14 days prior, are temporarily barred from entry to the Philippines.
Said suspension, the BI said, included transiting passengers.
BI to implement travel ban extension amid new COVID-19 strain
“The latest order from Malacanang expands this to 19 other countries,” said Morente.
“Effective midnight of December 30 to January 15, foreigners coming from and transiting through the 19 countries, as well as those who traveled there 14 days prior, will also not be allowed entry,” he stated.
The list includes 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.
Morente further discussed that passengers who are already in transit and are arriving before December 30 at 12:01 AM from the 19 areas specified, including those passengers who have been in said countries within 14 days immediately preceding their arrival in the Philippines, shall be referred to the port’s one-stop shop to undergo RT-PCR testing and an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period.
Outbound travel, according to the BI, remains subject to existing protocols of both the Philippines and the destination country.
The move to implement restrictions followed after the new strain of virus that was first discovered in the United Kingdom has been reported to be more contagious than other COVID-19 variants.