Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the cap on the number of inbound passengers allowed to enter the Philippines every day would increase once the COVID-19 cases decrease.
Galvez said 1,500 international inbound passengers will be allowed to enter the country daily due to the increasing number of new cases partially contributed to the COVID-19 variants.
“Considering that we have a continuous surge, ito po ‘yung tinatawag nating major intervention para ma-prevent natin ‘yung probability na more or less 3,000 ng mga carriers ng mga variants,” he said in a briefing.
(Considering that we have a continuous surge, this is our intervention to prevent the probability of having more or less 3,000 carriers of new variants.)
“Once na nakita po natin na medyo bumaba ‘yung kaso, pwede po natin i-akyat ‘yan ng 2,000 and another 2,000,” he added.
(Once we see that cases have gone down, we can increase the cap to 2,000, and another 2,000.)
However, the following are exempted from the ban:
- Holders of 9(c) visas
- Medical repatriation and their escort/s duly endorsed by the DFA-OUMWA or OWWA
- Distressed ROFs duly endorsed by DFA-OUMWA
- Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the NTF-COVID-19
Limit on inbound passengers to increase when cases decrease – Galvez
Galvez noted that even returning overseas Filipinos who have received a COVID-19 vaccine would not be allowed to enter the Philippines.
“Gusto natin maging controlled muna for the meantime kasi nagkakaroon ng exponential increase ‘yung ating cases,” he said.
(We want [entries] to be controlled for the meantime because our cases our exponentially increasing.)
Meanwhile, Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) supported the decision to limit the number of inbound passengers.
The OCTA Research team said the Philippines could record up to 20,000 new COVID-19 cases daily by April if the new surge of infections would not be controlled.
A reproduction number of one or higher indicates a continuous transmission of the virus.
However, the projection could be prevented if the national and local government would continue to implement strict health protocols, localized lockdowns, and curfew hours.