MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced the expansion of entry travel restrictions effective midnight of January 3 following an order from Malacañang.
According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, the list of those restricted to enter the Philippines now includes foreign passengers coming from the United States of America (USA).
The USA adds to the list of 21 countries with temporary travel restrictions imposed due to the reported new strain of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has plagued the United Kingdom.
“However, aliens from the US eligible for entry that arrive prior to January 3 will be allowed to enter but will be referred to the One Stop Shop for an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period,” Morente explained.
Meanwhile, Morente clarified that Filipinos who will be arriving from said regions will be allowed to enter, but will likewise be referred for a strict 14-day quarantine.
According to the BI, foreigners coming from the following countries are temporarily prohibited from entering the Philippines:
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
- Hong Kong SAR
- South Korea
- South Africa
The BI Chief clarified that in the new ruling, starting January 3, passengers who are merely transiting through any of the countries covered by the ban will be allowed to enter, provided that they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry in the covered country by its immigration authorities.
“Aliens with connecting flights and merely had a layover in the 21 countries may now be allowed to enter if eligible for entry,” said Morente.
“But if they left the airport or were cleared for arrival in the 21 countries, then they are prohibited from entering the Philippines,” he added.
Morente added that those who traveled to the 21 countries 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines will also be disallowed entry. He stated that aliens not coming from the 21 restricted countries are subject to the existing Inter-Agency Task Force Against Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) guidelines.
The BI appealed to the public to bear with the government for implementing the travel restrictions.
“These are temporary measures that the government needs to take to prevent the entry of the new strain of Covid-19,” said BI Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Candy Tan.
“While we are hoping for the revival of confidence in international travel, we are constrained to take these measures for everyone’s safety,” she stated.