MANILA – The Philippines will lift travel restrictions on passengers coming from 10 countries beginning September 6, Malacañang announced on Saturday.
"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to lift the current travel restrictions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia starting Sept. 6, 2021," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
For months, the 10 countries were listed as high-risk due to rising coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases and travelers from those nations were banned from entering the Philippines.
Despite the lifting of the ban, inbound passengers should comply with the appropriate entry, testing, and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved listing.
Roque also said the IATF has approved the adoption of Yellow and Red classifications, in addition to the Green list of countries, jurisdictions, and territories.
The new listing is based on incidence rates and case counts as primary criteria and testing data as secondary criteria.
The incidence rate is the cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population while case counts are cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.
The IATF Yellow list, classified as moderate risk, is based on the following metrics:
-For a population greater than 100,000, the incidence rate shall be 50 to 500;
-For a population less than 100,000, the Covid-19 case counts shall be 50 to 500 and testing rate over the past 28 days per 100,000 population.
Roque said inbound international travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or with travel history from Yellow nations within the past 14 days before their arrival in the Philippines should strictly follow the entry, testing, and quarantine protocols.
First, travelers should undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
"They have to complete the first 10 days in a quarantine facility while the remaining four days must be spent under home quarantine in their respective local government units (LGUs) of destination," he said.
Second, travelers must undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing on the seventh day, with the day of arrival as Day 1.
"Notwithstanding a negative test result, they have to complete their facility quarantine for 10 days," he added.
Third, the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) will strictly conduct symptoms monitoring during the 10-day isolation period of travelers.
Fourth, the foregoing shall be subject to special protocols approved by the IATF or the Office of the President for certain classes of travelers or ports of origin.
Countries under the Red list, classified as high risk, are based on the following:
-For a population greater than 100,000, the incidence rate shall be more than 500;
-For a population less than 100,000, the Covid-19 case counts shall be more than 500, and the testing rate over the past 28 days per 100,000 population.
Inbound international travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or who have been to Red nations shall not be allowed to enter the Philippines.
Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated repatriation, non-government-initiated repatriation, and bayanihan (cooperation) flights of commercial airlines may be allowed entry, subject to entry, testing, and quarantine protocols.
Filipinos from Red-listed places shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival – the first 10 in a quarantine facility and the remaining four days under home quarantine in their LGUs of destination.
They shall undergo RT-PCR testing on the seventh day, with their day of arrival serving as Day 1 and the BOQ shall ensure strict symptom monitoring.
All passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through a country, jurisdiction, a territory under the Red list, shall not be deemed as being there if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities.
They shall likewise be covered by existing testing and quarantine protocols.
Malacañang added the IATF has approved an updated list of countries under the Green list: American Samoa, Anguilla, Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Chad, China, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gabon, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Mali, Federated States of Micronesia, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Poland, Saba, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Slovakia, and Taiwan.
Also slated on September 6 is the soft launch of the National Digital Vaccine Certificate (VaxCertPH), a project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology that will serve as a central repository of vaccine certificates based on data provided by LGUs.
Overseas Filipino workers and other overseas Filipinos residing in Metro Manila and Baguio City and who will be departing from the Philippines for international travel will be prioritized in the initial phase of the implementation of VaxCertPH. (PNA)