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Philippines bars travelers from US until January 15

The Philippine government will be barring travelers from the United States beginning Sunday, January 3, after it detected cases of a new coronavirus strain believed to be more infectious. 

Malacañang announced the order on Friday, January 1, upon the joint recommendation of the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs to include US in a list of countries covered by travel restrictions. 

The ban will last until January 15. 

“In this regard, foreign passengers coming from the US, or who have been to the US within 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines, shall be prohibited from entering the country effective January 3, 2021, 12:01AM, Manila time, until January 15, 2021,” Malacañang said. 

What about travelers arriving before January 3?

The Philippine government said those who were coming from the US or have been to the country within the last 14 days before arriving in the Philippines before the ban takes effect will be allowed to enter. But they will need to complete a strict 14-day quarantine period in a government-accredited facility, even if they test negative for COVID-19 through RT-PCR testing.

This will be effective immediately, Malacañang said.

It added Filipino citizens will be allowed to enter the Philippines, including those arriving January 3, 2021 at 12:01 am, though they will also be required to undergo 14-day quarantines, regardless of their COVID-19 test results. 

How about transiting passengers?

The following rules will apply for Filipino and foreign passengers transiting through a country covered by travel restrictions:

  • All passengers, Filipinos or foreigners alike, merely transiting through countries covered by travel restrictions will not be considered as having come from or having been to the country,  “provided the passengers stayed in the airport the whole time and they were not cleared for entry by the immigration authorities of the said country covered by our travel restrictions.”
  • Passengers who fall under this category will not be required to complete a 14-day facility-based quarantine and may be allowed to undergo home quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test result at their point of entry. 

Transiting passengers who left airports or were cleared for entry to countries covered by the Philippines’ travel restrictions will not be allowed to enter the country. 

Filipino citizens coming from airports or were cleared for entry to countries covered by restrictions will still be allowed to enter but will also need to undergo facility-based 14-day quarantines, even if they test negative for COVID-19.

Aside from the US, countries currently covered by the travel restrictions were Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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