Foreigners from countries with new COVID-19 variant cases won’t be allowed in flights to PH – PAL

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2020   •   478

MANILA, Philippines – Flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL) will temporarily stop flying foreigners from countries that are included in the Philippines’ expanded travel ban list which was issued to prevent the entry of a new coronavirus variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom.

In a travel advisory issued on December 29, PAL said it will only allow Filipino citizens to board its flights from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Canada, South Korea, and Australia.

PAL said the policy will take effect from December 30, 2020 to January 15, 2021 in compliance with the Philippine government’s travel restrictions.

“For flights to the Philippines, we will be unable to accept foreign nationals who originated from, or were in transit via, or had visited the following countries within 14 days prior to their supposed arrival in the Philippines,” the company said.

These countries are Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and United Kingdom.

Filipino citizens, who had visited any of the above countries are allowed to enter the Philippines but will be required to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine period at a designated quarantine facility.

However, passengers who are already in transit and arrive before December 30, 2020, 12:01AM, from the 20 countries / areas listed above, and/or who have been in these areas within 14 days prior to arrival, will be allowed entry but will be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if their mandatory RT-PCR test results are negative.

The latest travel restrictions are mandated by the presidential approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) resolution restricting travel into the Philippines from specified countries, as a protection measure against the new variant of the SARS-COV 2 Virus.

PAL earlier announced the cancellation of flights to and from London until end-February 2021 in view of the tier 4 lockdown of the UK government.

Affected passengers may rebook on the next available flights after the restriction period, with rebooking service fees waived.

“They may also refund the cost of their ticket with refunding service fees waived. A third available option is the conversion of the PAL ticket into a travel voucher for future use,” PAL said.

No expanded travel ban yet amid cases of new COVID-19 variant, Palace clarifies

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday clarified that the government has not issued an expanded travel restriction to cover more countries that have confirmed cases of a new novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant first reported in the United Kingdom.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the implementation of an expanded travel ban was “highly recommended” by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) but has yet to be approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

He advised the public to wait for the guidelines from the Office of the President.

“Hintayin po natin ang desisyon ng president. Magpapalabas po ng something in writing ang Office of the President. Ang alam ko po highly recommended ng IATF at DOH yung travel bans sa mga bansang may new variants,” Roque said.

“Ang sabi po ng presidente, kinakailangan kahit sinong Pilipino na nais makauwi, dapat makauwi. Imposible po yan kung magkakaroon tayo ng travel ban,” he added.

The Philippines has suspended all inbound flights from the United Kingdom from December 24, 2020 until mid-January, 2021 amid reports on cases of new COVID-19 variant.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) earlier posted an advisory on its social media account, announcing the supposed expanded travel ban to include more countries effective midnight of December 29.

MIAA later took down its post but did not cite a reason for its removal. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)


Philippine Airlines halts Manila-London flights

Robie de Guzman   •   December 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Flag carrier Philippine Airlines has announced the suspension of its flights to and from London effective December 24, 2020 until the end of February 2021 in compliance with the government’s directive to restrict inbound travel from the United Kingdom.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) earlier issued a resolution banning flights from the UK starting December 24 to December 31 over concerns of a new strain of coronavirus.

Passengers of the cancelled flights may rebook on the next available flights with rebooking service fees waived.

Passengers may also refund the cost of their ticket with refunding service fees waived.

They may also opt to convert their ticket into a travel voucher for future use.

“We are monitoring the situation in the UK. As we keep a close watch on this evolving situation, it is in the best interest of all to suspend flights on the route,” PAL said.

“Appropriate announcements will be made as developments unfold,” it added.

PAL said it supports all measures that seek to curb any potential increase in COVID-19 cases during the holiday season and beyond.

PAL offers free RT-PCR test for Filipinos returning from Middle East

Robie de Guzman   •   December 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Flag carrier Philippine Air Lines (PAL) is offering free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test to Filipino workers returning from the Middle East during the holiday season.

In a Facebook post, PAL said land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and traveling dependents may avail of the test upon arrival in Manila under the PAL One-Stop-Shop at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

The service covers returning OFWs from Dubai, Doha, Dammam, Riyadh, or Bahrain on December 22, 2020 to January 1, 2021 (departing December 21-31, 2020).

“Plus, with our guaranteed release of test results within 24 hours, you can come home and be with your loved ones in time for the holidays,” the airline company said.

To avail of this free service, PAL advised OFWs to register as early as three days before departure via this link.

The step-by-step guide on their arrival process, can be viewed here.

“Passengers who test positive shall be endorsed to the Philippine Bureau of Quarantine for further medical management,” the company said.

PAL also said sea-based OFWs in these flights will also enjoy free testing under another laboratory testing provider.

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