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PH applies travel curbs vs 6 more countries over new COVID strain

  • The Philippines has imposed a temporary travel ban on six more nations to prevent a new variant of COVID-19 from entering the country
  • The ban takes effect on Jan 8 until Jan 15, 2021
  • Travel bans are also in place against 20 other countries until Jan 15
  • A temporary prohibition is also in place until Jan 15 for vessels coming from the 20 countries from changing their crews at PPA- and CPA-designated crew change hubs

The Philippines has imposed a temporary travel ban on passengers from six more countries to prevent the entry of a new, more infectious variant of COVID-19 that has been detected in several countries.

The six countries added to the list of nations are Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil.

The Office of the President included the six based on the joint recommendation of the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

With this, foreign passengers coming from or who have been to these countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines will be prohibited entry effective January 8, 2021, 12:01 a.m., until January 15, 2021.

Foreign passengers and Filipino citizens coming from these places—or who have been to the six countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines—and  arriving in the country before January 8, 2021 will still be allowed entry.

However, they must undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing result.

Filipino and foreign passengers merely transiting through the six countries will be covered by the rules provided in the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated December 31, 2020.

All incoming unaccompanied minor Filipino passengers coming from countries/jurisdictions with Philippine travel restrictions in place will not be allowed entry until January 15, 2021, except minors returning through the government’s repatriation program.

Repatriated minors will be turned over to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration house parent who will coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on ensuring the minors are safe and observing quarantine protocols.

All unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens not part of the repatriation program of the national government and arriving before January 8, 2021 will be turned over to an authorized DSWD officer who will ensure the minors’ safety and observance to quarantine protocols.

Earlier, a temporary suspension of flights to the United Kingdom (UK) was imposed from December 24 until December 31, 2020.

The UK is where the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, was reported last month.

Following this, the Philippines also imposed a travel ban covering 20 countries that started December 30, 2020 and will last until January 15, 2021.

READ: PH imposes temporary ban on 20 countries

Besides the UK, these countries include Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, and Spain. On January 1, the United States was included in the travel ban.

READ: Travel ban now includes US

Aside from flight suspensions, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Cebu Port Authority (CPA) also announced a temporary prohibition for vessels coming from the 20 countries from changing their crews at PPA- and CPA-designated crew change hubs from December 30, 2020 to January 15, 2021.

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