PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved the temporary prohibition of flights from the United Kingdom, and entry of foreign travelers from 18 other countries and one territory from Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020 to Jan. 15, 2021.
The temporary ban was issued in light of the spread of a new Covid-19 variant in the UK.
Aside from the UK, President Duterte approved the temporary ban on the entry of foreign travelers from Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain and Hong Kong.
Foreign and Filipino passengers who are already in transit from these places and are set to arrive in the country before Dec. 30 will not be prohibited from entering the Philippines.
But they will be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period and secure a negative RT-PCR test result, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Roque said outbound travel to countries with reported new Covid-19 variants shall be subject to the Philippines’ exit protocols and the entry protocols of the respective countries.
Laboratories at points of entry are directed to submit the specimens of travelers from countries with reported cases of the new variant of Covid-19 to the Philippine Genome Center, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM); and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health.
The RITM is also directed to develop a Standard Operating Procedure / Response Protocol for reports of new variants and strains of the Covid-19.
President Duterte also ordered the Bureau of Quarantine and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to ensure the strict adherence to quarantine and testing protocols for returning Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and provide a line list or a summary of information to local government units to ensure that the 14-day quarantine is completed.
The DOH Covid-19 Surveillance and Quick Action Team must likewise be provided a copy of the line list for their case profile and trend analysis.
Duterte also tasked the Department of the Interior and Local Government to ensure all other inbound international travelers from countries not subjected to the temporary ban strictly finish their 14-day quarantine following the existing quarantine protocols, which allow home quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test result at the point of entry.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) is awaiting final guidelines from the National Government on the temporary ban.
“We’re still waiting for the guidelines on the travel ban from the Inter-Agency Task Force. Currently, we have a travel ban for the UK only,” GMR Megawide, the MCIA operator said in a text message. (JKV / JOB)