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PH adopts travel ban on 14 countries as precaution against Omicron

  • The Philippines has placed 14 countries in Europe and Africa on its “red list” from November 28 to December 15
  • The move is designed to minimize potential entry of Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant, into the country
  • Included in the red list are South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy
  • Regardless of vaccination status, no entry for inbound international travellers from, or who have been to, red list countries within the last 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines

The Philippines has placed 14 countries in Europe and Africa on its “red list” from November 28 to December 15 as a border control measure to minimize the potential entry of omicron, a new COVID-19 variant, into the country.

Included in the red list are South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy, as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Countries on the red list are considered high risk based on their disease incidence rate. Omicron, dubbed as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, was first detected in Southern Africa last week, and as of November 29, cases have since been reported in various African and European countries, as well as in Canada, Israel, and Hong Kong.

Inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to red list countries/jurisdictions/territories within the last 14 days prior to arrival in any port of the Philippines will not be allowed.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan flights may be allowed entry, subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for red list countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Meanwhile, passengers already in transit and all those who have been to the 14 red list countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, who arrive before 12:01 a.m. of November 30, 2021, will not be subject to this restriction from entry.

They will, however, be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with testing on the seventh day, with day one being the date of arrival, notwithstanding a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test result.

Passengers who have already arrived prior to November 28 and are undergoing quarantine should complete their respective testing and quarantine protocols.

Passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through the covered countries will not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into such country by its immigration authorities. Upon arriving in the Philippines, these passengers should comply with existing testing and quarantine protocols.

The IATF likewise approved the temporary suspension of testing and quarantine protocols for countries/jurisdictions/territories classified as “green” effective immediately until December 15, 2021. Except for countries classified under the red list, the testing and quarantine protocols for all inbound international travellers in all ports of entry should comply with the testing and quarantine protocols for yellow list countries.

Green list countries and jurisdictions are considered as low risk for COVID-19 based on their disease incidence rate, while those on the yellow list are classified as moderate risk.

On the other hand, arriving passengers coming from green list countries/territories/jurisdictions who arrived prior to November 28 may still follow quarantine protocols assigned to their country of origin upon the date of their arrival.

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