NTF: No foreigners, non-OFW Filipinos into the Philippines from March 20 to April 19
An international airline ground staff wearing protective gear works at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe, file

NTF: No foreigners, non-OFW Filipinos into the Philippines from March 20 to April 19

(Philstar.com) - March 16, 2021 - 11:08pm

MANILA, Philippines (Corrected 1 p.m., March 17)— The National Task Force Against COVID-19 is restricting travel into the Philippines from March 20 to April 19 in response to rising COVID-19 cases in recent days.

According to a memorandum circular signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the country will suspend the entry of foreigners and "Returning Overseas Filipinos who are non-OFWs" except for the following:

  • Holders of 9(C) visas (seafarers)
  • Medical repatriation and their escorts endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
  • Distressed ROFs endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs
  • Emergency and humanitarian cases

The NTF memo cites the 5,404 new COVID-19 cases recorded on Monday and Department of Health data showing cases of the B.1.1.7 variant—18 out of 59—and the B1.351 variant—1 of 32 cases—among ROFs.

One case of the P.1 variant has also been confirmed in an ROF from Brazil, the memo said.

Aside from the temporary suspension of entry, the memo also limits the number of inbound international passengers to 1,500 a day.  

The Civil Aeronautics Board announced the cap on arrivals earlier Tuesday, saying only arrivals into the Ninoy Aquino International Airport would be limited to 1,500 a day. passengers 

The cap was initially supposed to run from March 18 to April 18. "Airlines operating in NAIA that will exceed the allowed capacity will be meted with the appropriate penalty," CAB said.

(Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the P.1 variant was first detected in Brazil and not the Philippines as earlier reported. The variant first detected in the Philippines is P.3. We regret the error.)

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 24, 2021 - 2:24pm

Find the latest travel and tourism news from around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. Main image by AFP/Romeo Gacad

July 24, 2021 - 2:24pm


The Department of Tourism renews call for safe personal travels as the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Metro Manila and other areas under a stricter quarantine measure to avoid local transmission of Delta variant of COVID-19.

"Individuals of all ages may still pursue their travel plans, but needless to say, with the threat of the Delta variant, our travelers must practice extra caution and strictly adhere to the rules and guidelines of the LGU of destination," says Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat. 

"The Department is continuously looking for ways to further help the local tourism industry and its stakeholders get back on its feet as soon as possible but we remind everyone who wishes to travel for leisure to follow the imposed minimum health standards and social distancing measures," she adds.

July 17, 2021 - 2:22pm

English residents who visit France after a July 19 loosening of coronavirus restrictions will still be required to quarantine on returning home even if they are fully vaccinated, the UK government says.

The end of the compulsory quarantine for vaccinated English residents returning from countries on London's "amber" list "will not apply to France following the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant" of COVID-19 first detected in South Africa, the Department of Health says in a statement.

Those arriving from countries on the amber list, which includes other popular European holiday destinations like Italy, Portugal and Spain, currently need to quarantine at home for up to 10 days and submit to two tests. — AFP

July 16, 2021 - 12:09pm

The Eiffel Tower is to reopen to visitors on Friday for the first time in nine months following its longest closure since World War II.

The lifts of the "Iron Lady" are set to whir back into life, transporting tourists to its 300-metre (1,000-foot) summit, ending a long period of inactivity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daily capacity is set to be restricted to 13,000 people, however, about half of the normal level, in order to respect social distancing. — AFP

July 15, 2021 - 11:18am

Saudi Arabia will host another downsized hajj from Saturday, with only residents fully vaccinated against the coronavirus permitted and overseas Muslim pilgrims barred for a second year.

The kingdom seeks to repeat last year's success that saw no virus outbreak during the five-day Muslim ritual.

It is allowing 60,000 residents of Saudi Arabia to participate, higher than in 2020 but drastically lower than in normal times. People will begin to arrive on Saturday, a day before the start of rites.

In 2019, some 2.5 million Muslims from around the world participated in the annual hajj -- a key pillar of Islam that is a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime.

Earlier this month, the hajj ministry said it was working on the "highest levels of health precautions" in light of the pandemic and the emergence of new variants.

Chosen from more than 558,000 applicants through an online vetting system, the event is confined to those who have been fully vaccinated and are aged 18-65 with no chronic illnesses, it said.

The pilgrimage, which typically packs large crowds into congested religious sites, is potentially a super-spreader of the virus. — AFP

July 14, 2021 - 4:49pm

The Philippines adds Indonesia in the list of countries with travel ban starting July 16 until July 31. 

Based on reports, Indonesia’s daily cases surged past India, making it the new COVID-19 epicenter. Indonesia is struggling to contain the Delta variant. 

— The STAR/Christina Mendez

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