POEA administrator Bernard Olalia (Screengrab from Laging Handa briefing)

MANILA – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are bound for countries included in the Philippines' 'red list' due to the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) Omicron variant will not be able to travel to their host nations for now, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Thursday.

"Based on the latest IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) resolution, the government said all international flights from countries with cases of Omicron are canceled. Since they are on the red list, all incoming flights are canceled and once all international flights are canceled, there will be no outbound flights as well. Our OFWs bound for these countries are barred from leaving as per IATF resolution,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia said in a Laging Handa briefing.

He added that they are set to issue an advisory informing OFWs of the measure.

From Nov. 28 to Dec. 15, the entry of travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy into the country is prohibited.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for 'red list' countries/jurisdictions/territories.

Olalia said OFWs who are taking their Christmas vacation from 'red list' countries will be allowed in the country subject to health protocols.

“We also have protocols for those coming from those countries. It is very important because they will be home for Christmas. If you come from that country, if the flight is government-initiated or NGO (non-government organization) initiated flight, you will be allowed to land here, if you are OFWs. We have quarantine protocols where you have to undergo quarantine for 14 days and test for Covid-19 before they are allowed to return to your provinces,” Olalia said. (PNA)