PH updates list of ‘green’ countries

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021   •   999

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Friday released an updated list of countries classified under green, yellow, and red, Malacañang said.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that from October 16 to 31, passengers from Romania will be barred from entering the Philippines after it was placed under the “red” list or classified as high risk for COVID-19.

The “green” list, which is classified as low-risk based on COVID-19 incidence rate, includes the following countries:

  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Bhutan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China (Mainland)
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • Kiribati
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Niue
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Samoa
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria,
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

All other countries/jurisdictions/territories not mentioned are classified as yellow list, which is classified as moderate risk for COVID-19.

The IATF said that foreign travelers from “green” countries who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination are only required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

“Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine will be further required but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day,” the task force added.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Filipinos from green countries may choose between the following options:

  • Facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken in the quarantine facility upon arrival
  • No facility-based quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, Roque said they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day.

In the case of foreign nationals, they shall be required to secure hotel reservations for at least 6 days, he added.

“In the case of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated minor children traveling with their fully vaccinated parent/s or guardians, they shall be required to observe the quarantine protocols corresponding to their vaccination status,” Roque said.

“A parent/guardian shall accompany the child in the quarantine facility for the full term of the latter’s facility-based quarantine period,” he added.

On the other hand, travelers from “yellow” countries will have to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 10th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 6 days.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified by Philippine authorities as valid and authentic coming from the “yellow” list, they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 7th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 14th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 8 days.

Under IATF guidelines, inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to “red” list within the last 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines shall not be allowed.

“Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated repatriation, non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to testing and quarantine protocols,” Roque said.

These protocols include the following:

  • All arriving passengers shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival. The first 10 days shall be observed in a quarantine facility, with remainder to be completed under home quarantine in their respective local government units of destination.
  • RT-PCR testing shall be conducted on the 7th day. Notwithstanding a negative test result, the arriving passenger shall complete the facility-based quarantine period of 10 days.
  • The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for 10 days.
  • All passengers merely transiting through a “red” list shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country/jurisdiction/territory if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities.
  • Upon arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by the preceding paragraph shall comply with the existing and testing protocols.

To validate their vaccination status, overseas Filipino workers and their spouse, parent/s, and / or children traveling in the Philippines or abroad, non-OFWs vaccinated in the country or abroad, and foreigners vaccinated in the Philippines can present either of the following:

  • VaxCertPH digital vaccination certificate
  • BOQ/World Health Organization (WHO)-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICV)
  • The national/state digital certificate of the foreign government where they were vaccinated, which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF

In the case of foreigners vaccinated abroad, they can present WHO-issued ICV, or the national/state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF, Roque said.

 

DOH: Philippines now classified at minimal risk for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– The whole of the Philippines is now classified at minimal risk for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said most of the regions in the country have showed decreased average daily attack rate compared with previous weeks.

“Nationally, we remain at minimal risk case classification with a negative two-week growth rate at negative 57% and a low risk average daily attack rate at point 67 cases for every 100,000 individuals,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“The National health systems capacity is at low risk. All regions showed decrease in average daily attack rates compared to the previous 3-4 weeks and remained at minimal to low risk case classification,” she added.

Vergeire noted that from the more than 900 average daily cases from November 22 to 29, it declined to an average of 544 per day nationwide.

She said this is lower than the figure recorded in August 2020 and April 2021 when the Philippines reached the peak of cases.

The National Capital Region also remains at low-risk classification with 112 average daily cases recorded from November 29 to December 5.

Death cases also decreased to three during the period of December 1 to 5.

Vergeire said infection rates in most of the regions have been steadily declining compared with previous weeks.

But she urged the public not to be complacent especially during this time when some people gather to celebrate the holiday season.

Vergeire said the public should continue adhering to health protocols as the threat of COVID-19 remains. (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PH gov’t tracing 253 passengers from Africa amid looming threat of Omicron

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is tracing and monitoring more than 200 travelers who arrived in the country from African nations in the last two weeks amid the threat of new COVID-19 variant called Omicron, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have traced a total of 253 passengers from South Africa who arrived in the Philippines from November 15 to 29.

“BOQ has started to locate these passengers,” Vergeire said in a virtual press forum.

Of the 253 passengers, 249 were returning overseas Filipinos and four were foreigners. Authorities have traced 71 of these individuals.

The number includes three foreigners still in quarantine in Western Visayas after yielding negative test results.

Vergeire said three of these passengers initially tested positive for COVID-19. One passenger came from South Africa, another from Burkina Faso, and the other from Egypt.

She said samples of these travelers may undergo genome sequencing for variant identification.

“We are still processing the batch that we are going to subject to whole genome sequencing for this week. Results might be tonight or maybe tomorrow,” she said.

“Meron pong dumating na 253 from South Africa noong Nov. 15 to 29, may tatlo galing Burkina Faso; and mayroon 541 galing Egypt. Each of these countries nagkaroon ng isang traveler who tested positive for COVID-19,” she added.

The Philippine government banned the entry of travelers – except for Filipino repatriates – from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy until December 15 as a precautionary measure against the Omicron variant.

The DOH said the heavily mutated variant and potentially more infectious than other coronavirus variants have now been detected in 35 countries.

The variant was first discovered in South Africa.

It has been designated as a variant of concern but the World Health Organization said further studies are needed to better understand the variant’s effect on vaccines, treatment, and the virus’ transmissibility.

Over 90 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs administered in PH – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has administered over 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since the government rolled out the immunization drive in March, Malacañang said Friday.

Citing the December 2 data from the National COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard, acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said a total of 90,259,621 doses have been administered nationwide.

Of said figure, 48.42 percent or 37.3 million individuals have been fully vaccinated, he added.

The total included some 52.4 million first doses and 432,301 booster doses.

The government aims to vaccinate 54 million by the end of 2021 and up to 70 million by March 2022 to attain population protection against COVID-19.

In a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate, the government launched a three-day mass vaccination campaign, which initially aimed to vaccinate 9 million.

The campaign covered at least 8 million individuals in three days. The Department of Health earlier said this figure is expected to go up as reports continue to come in.

Meanwhile, the government also announced that the expanded rollout of the administration of booster shots for all fully vaccinated individuals aged 18 and above has started on Friday.

This program includes the Phase 2 rollout of the booster and additional doses for priority group A3 (persons with comorbidities), Nograles said.

Tandaan natin na importanteng magpabakuna sa gitna ng banta ng Omicron variant,” he said.

“Sa milyun-milyong nabakunahan na mga Pilipino, 99%+++ ay walang naramdaman na adverse reaction, o kung mayroon man, mild lamang po ito. Wala pong namatay na direktang may kaugnayan sa COVID-19 vaccine jab,” he added.

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