DFA: 61 countries now open for tourism

Marje Pelayo   •   November 3, 2020   •   815

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Monday (November 2) that a total of 61 countries and destinations have opened for tourism following months of inbound restrictions due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Among 198 countries and destinations in the world, “54 have already lifted inbound border restrictions on Filipino travels,” the DFA noted in the advisory. 

Meanwhile, “only 7 allow entry without any inbound arrival protocols” and these are Andorra, Haiti, Mexico, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Zambia.

However, the DFA said “over 130 remain closed for tourism” and these include 53 countries and areas that are still closed to inbound travellers and 84 which have travel bans against tourists remain in effect.

“While travel for leisure is now an option amidst the pandemic, the DFA advises Filipino travelers to refer to the requirements set by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and implemented by the Bureau of Immigration (BI),” the Department said.

“Moreover, travelers should always check ahead of travel dates with their airlines before departure or before booking a ticket as the information in the infographics could change at any time,” it added.

MMDA mulls conversion of quarantine facility into national vaccination center

Marje Pelayo   •   January 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is planning to offer its own quarantine facility to the government to become a national COVID-19 vaccination center, the agency reported on Friday (January 22).

The isolation facility, located at the agency’s headquarters in Makati, was established last May 2020 for MMDA employees who need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

MMDA said that the conversion of the 800 square meter facility will help the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to expedite the distribution and administration of the vaccines as it plans to roll out the inoculation program next month.

“The MMDA quarantine facility is open for any national government agency that needs a place to efficiently roll out the anti-COVID-19 vaccination program,” said MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos.

“We are always willing to lend assistance to stop the transmission of disease at the soonest time possible so we can go back to normal again,” he added.

Abalos also shared his plan to have all the agency’s employees undergo a monthly RT-PCR swab test to ensure their health and safety.

“Our personnel’s welfare is our topmost priority. We need to make sure that they are safe from the dangers of COVID-19. This is one of our ways to help the national government in curbing the spread of the disease,” Abalos said. MNP / Raymund David

UP Diliman academic oval closed from Jan. 23 to Feb.4

Marje Pelayo   •   January 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Joggers may need to find another place to stretch their legs as the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman is temporarily closing its academic oval.

In light of the UK Covid-19 variant and the increasing number of cases in the country, the state university will not allow any visitor to the so-called ‘sunken garden’ from January 23 to February 4, 2021.

The University asks for the public’s understanding and cooperation as this measure is purely for safety reasons.

Image may contain: text that says 'Hello there! We know that you've heard COVID-19 has variants now. And lately, the number of cases infected with the virus has gone up again. For health and safety reasons, UP Diliman decided to temporarily close the Academic Oval to the public on Saturday, January 23 until Thursday, February 4, 2021. The Academic Oval will be opened on Friday, February 5, 2021. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation, as always! And please, stay safe. See you soon! UPD-Anouncement-2021-s.4 f OfficialUPDiliman @Official_UPD @officialupdiliman upd.edu.ph'

Davao City sets fine vs individuals with fake, tampered COVID-19 test results

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2021

DAVAO, Philippines—Davao City has signed an ordinance imposing fine on individuals using fake or tampered COVID-19 test results.

This was after numerous falsified COVID-19 test results were reported in various airports in Davao City, including Francisco Bangoy International Airport.

The new ordinance states that persons with falsified or tampered test results will face a P5,000 fine.

“Test result and other health verification documents includes, but not limited to, the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction(RT-PCR) test, rapid antigen test, other serologic tests, or any other similar tests that may be used in the future,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile, persons or establishments who shall fabricate any false or tampered result, or shall present themselves as testing centers, without proper authority from the Department of Health will also be penalized with the administrative fee of 5,000 pesos.

Since November 2020, twenty-eight (28) individuals have been caught presenting falsified RT-PCR test results upon their arrival in Davao City airports. AAC

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