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    Philippines expands travel ban to 19 more countries amid threat of COVID-19 new variant

    MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday approved the additional measures to address the COVID-19 new variant. These include the expanded travel ban to 19 more countries, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
    Philippines expands travel ban to 19 more countries

    Foreign travelers coming from or transiting through the following countries are prohibited from entering the Philippines effective December 30, 2020, 12:01AM until January 15, 2021.

    1. Denmark
    2. Ireland
    3. Japan
    4. Australia
    5. Israel
    6. The Netherlands
    7. Hong Kong, SAR
    8. Switzerland
    9. France
    10. Germany
    11. Iceland
    12. Italy
    13. Lebanon
    14. Singapore
    15. Sweden
    16. South Korea
    17. South Africa
    18. Canada
    19. Spain

    Duterte also extended the temporary suspension of flights and prohibition of entry on all travelers coming from or transiting through the United Kingdom until January 15.

    The emerging fast-spreading new variant of COVID-19 was first detected in the United Kingdom.

    Effective immediately, passengers who are already in transit and arrive before December 30, 2020, 12:01AM, from the 19 countries / areas listed above within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, shall not be prohibited from entering the country. However, they shall be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result.

    Also, effective immediately, Filipino citizens coming from the aforementioned countries, who have been to the same countries / areas within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines. However, they shall be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result.

    The Office of the President, upon the joint recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Foreign Affairs, may impose restrictions to travelers coming from other countries that report the presence of the new variant of COVID-19.

    Outbound travel to countries with reported new variants shall be subject to the exiting protocols of the Philippines 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. In addition, the RITM is directed to develop a Standard Operating Procedure / Response Protocol for reports of new variants and strains of COVID-19.

    The Bureau of Quarantine and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration are directed to ensure the strict adherence to quarantine and testing protocols for returning Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers and provide line list to the local government units to ensure that the 14-day quarantine is completed and monitored. The DOH COVID-19 Surveillance and Quick Action Team must likewise be provided a copy for their case profile and trend analysis.

    The Department of the Interior and Local Government is directed to ensure that all other inbound international travelers from countries not mentioned above 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 Summit Express

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