Palace lifts travel ban on 10 countries starting Sept. 6 | Global News
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Palace lifts travel ban on 10 countries starting Sept. 6

/ 01:09 PM September 04, 2021

FILE PHOTO Where before it used to crawl with passengers at this time of the year, the departure area of Ninoy Aquino International Airport is all but empty. The Philippines has lifted its ban on flights from 10 countries in Asia and the Middle East. —LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the pandemic task force to lift the travel restrictions on several countries starting September 6, Malacañang announced on Saturday.

Among these countries are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

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However, international travelers coming from these countries shall comply with the appropriate entry, testing and quarantine protocols, depending on the country’s approved “listing,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

The travel restrictions on these said countries, imposed to stop the further spread of coronavirus variants, were earlier extended until September 5.

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With this development, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) likewise approved the adoption of “yellow” and “red” classifications, in addition to the “green list” of countries, jurisdictions, and territories, according to Roque.

Roque said the classifications are based on the countries’ respective 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.

Yellow list

The IATF classified “yellow list” countries or territories as “moderate risk” based on the following metrics:

– For populations greater than 100,000, the incidence rate shall be 50 to 500
– For populations less than 100,000, the COVID-19 case counts shall be 50 to 500
– “Testing rate of tests” over the past 28 days per 100,000 population

“Inbound international travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or with travel history within the last 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines from “yellow list” countries/jurisdictions/territories shall be governed by entry, testing and quarantine protocols,” said Roque.

Travelers from yellow list countries should undergo a 14-day quarantine, composed of a 10-day facility-based quarantine and four-day home quarantine, upon arrival. They will undergo RT-PCR testing on the seventh day of isolation. Roque said that even if they get a negative test result, they still have to complete their 10-day facility based quarantine.

The Bureau of Quarantine shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while the travelers are in the facility quarantine for 10 days.

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Red list

Meanwhile, the IATF classified “red list” countries as “high risk” based on the following metrics:

– For populations greater than 100,000 the incidence rate shall be more than 500
– For populations less than 100,000, the COVID-19 case counts shall be more than 500
– “Testing rate of tests” 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 list” countries/jurisdictions/territories shall not be allowed to enter the Philippines,” said Roque.

He said only Filipinos returning to the country through government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan flights may be allowed entry, subject to testing and quarantine protocols.

Like travelers from countries in the “yellow list,” exempted travelers from “red list” countries will also have to undergo a 10-day facility-based quarantine and four-day home quarantine. They will also undergo RT-PCR testing on the seventh day. However, they shall complete their facility-based quarantine even if they get a negative test result.

“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,” said Roque.

“All passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through a ‘red list’ country/jurisdiction/territory shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country/jurisdiction/territory if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities,” he clarified.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, passengers merely transiting through a “red list” country shall be covered with testing and quarantine protocols.

To note, fully vaccinated travelers from countries under the “green list” qualify for a seven-day facility-based quarantine instead of 10 days.

EDV

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