Philippines heightens border control to prevent entry of Nu variant

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021   •   195


MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Friday approved the temporary suspension of inbound international flights from South Africa, Botswana, and other countries with local cases or with the likelihood of occurrences of the B.1.1.1529 or Nu variant.

According to the statement released by Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the temporary suspension shall be effective immediately and until December 15, 2021.

“The Bureau of Quarantine, in close coordination with our local government units, has been directed to locate travelers from the abovementioned countries who may have arrived in the recent 7 days prior to the temporary suspension of inbound travel,” Nograles said.

“These travelers shall be required to undergo full 14-day facility-based quarantine with RT-PCR test on the 7th day or upon the location of the passenger, whichever is later, with the date of arrival as Day 1,” he added.

Inbound international flights from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, which are adjacent to South Africa and Botswana were also temporarily suspended by the IATF.

“Passengers coming from or having been to these abovementioned countries within the last 14 days prior to arrival shall be temporarily barred from entering the country,” Nograles said.

“Passengers already in transit from the abovementioned countries and all those who have been to the same within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines, who arrive before 12:01 AM of November 28, 2021, shall not be barred from entry,” he added.

Nevertheless, these passengers shall be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols such as the observation of an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result.

Nograles further said that “all passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through the abovementioned countries shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to the said country if they stayed in the airport the entire time and were not cleared for entry into such country by its immigration authorities.”

Upon arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by these conditions shall comply with existing testing and quarantine protocols.


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