The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that they will be implementing the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on extending the travel ban until January 31.
In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente shared that they received an order from Malacanang and the IATF extending the travel ban, following reports of new Covid-19 variants.
In the expanded travel restrictions, foreigners coming from or have been to the 33 travel-restricted countries within 14 days from their arrival in the Philippines shall be excluded.
Currently, the government is implementing a travel ban on aliens coming from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, The People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and the United States.
Also included in the travel ban are those coming from Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and Oman.
“We expect further decrease in the number of travelers in the coming weeks due to the reported new variants of Covid-19,” said Morente. “We shall continue implementing existing protocol on arriving Filipinos from the 33 countries,” he added.
Extended travel ban in effect – BI
Morente likewise reminded international travelers to practice social distancing and hygiene while traveling.
“We are implementing strict social distancing measures in the immigration areas at the airports, to ensure that contact is minimized during travel,” he said.
On Wednesday, the first patient who tested positive for the Covid-19 United Kingdom variant (B.1.1.7) was detected in the Philippines.
The patient flew to Dubai on December 27 and went back to the Philippines on January 7 where he wasted upon arrival.
He stayed at the hotel as part of protocol until he tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant. His samples were examined by the Philippine Genome Center. His female companion tested negative upon arrival.
“We have to remain cautious and vigilant to avert the spread of this new variant. What is important is we take care of the resident, and make sure we don’t sow panic in the community,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a press release.