Philippines bans entry of passengers from Austria

Marje Pelayo   •   January 11, 2021   •   236

MANILA, Philippines – Passengers coming from or have been to Austria 14 days prior to arrival in the country shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines.

This brings the total number of restricted countries to 28.

“The restriction for those coming from Austria will start at 12:01 midnight of January 10, and will be in effect until January 15,” said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced.

Earlier, the government imposed a travel ban on travelers from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and the United States.

The latest additions are Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil.

However, Morente clarified that Filipinos coming from said countries will be allowed entry, but will be referred to the airport’s one stop shop to “undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result.”

Those who will be merely transiting in the said 28 countries will not be required to undergo the 14 day quarantine, but will still have to undergo regular protocols for arriving passengers.

“They will be considered transiting if they merely stayed in the airport, were just there for a layover, and were not cleared for entry by immigration authorities in the said countries,” said Morente.

The expanded travel restrictions have been directed by Malacanang following the reported new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant from South Africa.

Philippines includes Czech Republic in travel ban list

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the Czech Republic are temporarily banned from entering the country.

According a statement from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, the inclusion of Czech Republic in the Philippines’ travel ban list is relative to the detection of the COVID-19 UK variant in the country.

This means foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the Czech Republic within fourteen (14) days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines are not allowed entry effective January 28, 2021, 12:01 AM, Manila time until January 31, 2021.

Meanwhile effective immediately, foreign passengers coming from, or who have been to the Czech Republic within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, arriving before January 28, 2021, 12:01AM, Manila time, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.

Also, effective immediately, Filipino citizens coming from, or who have been to the Czech Republic, within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those arriving after January 28, 2021, 12:01AM, Manila time, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.

As a standard procedure, passengers who are allowed entry to the Philippines need to undergo RT-PCR test upon their arrival. 

They have to be quarantined until the result of a subsequent RT-PCR test, which is administered on the fifth day of the quarantine is released. 

Those who tested negative from both RT-PCR tests will be endorsed to their respective local government units, which will strictly monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.

Filipino and foreign passengers merely transiting through the Czech Republic shall be covered by the rules as provided in the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated December 31, 2020.

To date, the ban on foreign travelers now covers 36 countries and territories following confirmation of the presence of new COVID-19 variants: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Hungary and Czech Republic.

‘Tantamount to discrimination’: Belmonte denounces Arayat LGU move to ban entry of QC residents

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday denounced the decision of the local government of Arayat, Pampanga to restrict the entry of the city’s residents into the municipality following reports that a resident from QC tested positive for the UK COVID-19 variant after traveling overseas.

In a statement, Belmonte called the local government’s decision ‘totally without basis’ and is ‘tantamount to discrimination’.

“We strongly denounce the Arayat local government’s decision to restrict the entry of Quezon City residents to their municipality, because this decision is totally without basis, can cause undue panic, and is tantamount to discrimination,” she said.

Belmonte pointed out that the patient did not set foot in Quezon City after arriving from Dubai on January 7 when he was tested and that he stayed in a facility as part of the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

“The day after, it was confirmed he was COVID-19 positive. His sample was sent to the Philippine Genome Center. On the night of January 13, the city government and the city health department were informed by the DOH that he has the so-called United Kingdom variant. Since January 8, he has been staying at a facility where he remains up to this day for treatment,” she said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that the patient traveled to Dubai on December 27 and returned to the country on January 7. His female companion tested negative for the virus but is also under quarantine and strict monitoring.

The DOH added that both had no exposure to a confirmed case before leaving the country.

Belmonte likewise emphasized that a total of 143 individuals, who are considered contacts of the patient have been identified, quarantined, and are closely being monitored.

“Among them are more than 30 healthcare workers and barangay workers who assisted and cared for the patient when he was transferred from the quarantine hotel in Manila to the isolation facility in Quezon City after he was tested positive for the virus,” she said.

Belmonte then appealed to the Arayat LGU to “reconsider its earlier order and allow QC residents to enter its jurisdiction.”

The Arayat LGU has yet to respond to Belmonte’s statement.

Gov’t extends travel restrictions on 32 countries until January 31

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has extended the travel restrictions on 32 countries until January 31 amid threat of the new COVID-19 variant.

The Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the recommendation to extend the travel restriction, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

Inaprubahan po ng inyong IATF ang rekomendasyon na ma-extend hanggang Janaury 31, 2021 ang entry travel restrictions at mga patakaran sa mga byaherong galing o transiting sa mga sumusunod na bansa kung saan meron na pong bagong strain ng COVID-19 (The IATF approved the recommendation to extend the entry travel restrictions until January 31, 2021, including the implementation of protocols for travelers transiting in areas with confirmed new strain of COVID-19),” Roque said.

Countries with travel restrictions until January 31:

  • The United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • The People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • United States of America
  • Portugal
  • India
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Jordan
  • Brazil
  • Austria
  • Pakistan
  • Jamaica
  • Luxembourg
  • Oman

Roque added that the IATF directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to implement health protocols and guidelines in airlines. Contact tracing and quarantine protocols will also be intensified.

Lahat ng matutukoy na close contacts ay kailangang sumailalim sa mahigpit na facility-based 14-day quarantine samantalang ang natirang contacts mula sa flight manifest ay papayuhan sumunod sa appropriate quarantine protocols (All in close contact need to undergo in a facility-based 14-day quarantine while the remaining contacts from the flight manifest need to follow appropriate quarantine protocols),” the Palace official said.

Local government units are advised to boost the maintenance of their quarantine facilities as well as the use of Staysafe.PH system for better contact tracing.

The IATF also approved the continuous genomic biosurveillance activities of the Department of Health (DOH), UP-Philippine Genome Center, and the UP-National Institutes of Health.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is not yet included in the list of countries covered by the travel restrictions. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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