Travelers complain of restrictions brought by new COVID-19 variant

Travelers are complaining of the restrictions imposed in the Philippines to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variant originally detected in the United Kingdom.

Nurse Gallarita from Switzerland returned home on December 29 because her mother had an accident in Cagayan De Oro.

But because of new travel restrictions on countries with new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variants, she is still undergoing a 14-day quarantine instead of returning to the province.

“Na-depress ako masyado. I feel like, inhuman talaga. It’s only in the Philippines that you will be quarantined and you are negative, it’s for 14 days,” said Gallarita.

Switzerland is one of the countries with travel restrictions. According to the rules, foreigners from the list are not allowed to enter the Philippines until January 15.

If you are Filipino, you will need to take a swab test and quarantine for 14 days even if you test negative for the new COVID-19 variant.

Meanwhile, OFWs would be directed to quarantine facilities. Otherwise, they will be placed in hotels accredited by the Department of Tourism.

Gallarita’s leave is only until January 20.

“We are spending more than P70,000 for the 14 days we are here. That money, I could spend that for my mom,” said Gallarita.

Airlines are also feeling the impact of travel restrictions brought by the new COVID-19 variant.

Travelers complain of restrictions brought by the new COVID-19 variant

Philippine Airlines offers flight rebooking and travel voucher conditions for travel to countries affected by travel restrictions.

Passengers who use Cebu Pacific can rebook for free within 90 days.

You can also make a “full travel fund” available for 2 years or avail a full refund.

Airlines hope that after January 15, travel restrictions will be lifted.

Earlier, Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced foreign passengers coming from or have been to Austria 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines shall be prohibited from entering the country.

“The restriction for those coming from Austria will start at 12:01 midnight of January 10, and will be in effect until January 15,” he stated.

The added restriction brings the total number of restricted countries to 28.

Earlier, the government imposed a  on travelers from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and the United States.