Govt expands ‘red list’ to combat Omicron variant threat
Malacañang has imposed travel restrictions to seven additional countries in the ‘red list’ to stop the new Omicron variant from entering the country.
IMAGE from Pexels
In a press statement, Cabinet Secretary and acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) added Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy to the red list.
South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique are already on the said list.
Prior to the declaration of the ban on Friday, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe were on the “green” list.
The red list or areas considered as “high-risk” for coronavirus will be updated after December 15.
Nograles said that inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to red list countries/jurisdictions/territories within the last 14 days prior to arrival to any port of the Philippines shall not be allowed.
Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and so-called Bayanihan flights will be allowed entry subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for red list countries/jurisdictions/territories.
Passengers already in transit and all those who have been to the red list countries/territories/jurisdictions within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines and who arrive before 12:01 a.m. of Nov 30 will not be subject to restrictions.
They will undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with testing on the 7th day, with day 1 being the date of arrival, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result.
On the other hand, passengers who arrived before Nov 28 and are currently undergoing quarantine pursuant to the classifications of their country of origin will complete their testing and quarantine protocols.
In the case of passengers transiting through the red countries, they will not be deemed as having come from or having been to the said country if they stayed at the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by immigration authorities. However, they are required to follow existing testing and quarantine protocols.
On Friday, the World Health Organization declared the Omicron variant to be “of concern.” It was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on Nov 24 and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel.
Some countries have already imposed travel restrictions to and from southern Africa.
Source: Philippine News Agency