Green list inclusion of US, Canada pushed

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
Green list inclusion of US, Canada pushed
A Bureau of Quarantine employee shows the International Certificate of Vaccination, or yellow card, at the new satellite office in Taguig City yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has requested the government to include countries in North America, Canada and some European countries in the “green list” to allow travelers from these countries to enjoy facility-free quarantine upon arrival in the Philippines.

At Go Negosyo’s Let’s Go Bakuna town hall meeting yesterday, Concepcion said other countries such as Thailand and Singapore are starting to open up by allowing quarantine-free travel for vaccinated passengers from the US.

“Hopefully, we get to move towards that level,” he said.

“I think because of our vaccination rate there is a good chance that we can start really opening up our businesses more freely,” Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said.

Yesterday, Malacañang announced that fully vaccinated travelers from “green list” countries are no longer required to undergo facility-based quarantine.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) has “streamlined” and “codified” testing and quarantine protocols for international passengers entering the Philippines.

Countries in the green list are Algeria, American Samoa, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Chad, China (Mainland), Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gibraltar, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), Kiribati;

Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Niue, North Korea, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Poland, Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands);

Saint Helena, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tokelau, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Yemen.

Roque said passengers coming from Romania, which was placed under the “red list,” are not allowed to enter the country from Oct. 16 to 31.

All other countries/jurisdictions/territories not mentioned are classified as “yellow list.”

The IATF classifies red list, yellow list and green list countries as “high risk,” “moderate risk,” and “low risk” for COVID-19, respectively.

Roque said fully vaccinated foreigners are required to present a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

“Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine will be further required but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day,” he said.

Increased capacity

Business establishments may now increase their service capacity by 30 percent if they secure a safety seal and are located in an area with a high vaccination rate like the National Capital Region (NCR), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said yesterday.

“There’s additional 10 percentage points operating capacity if establishment has safety seal plus additional 20 percentage points if it is in a province or region with over 70 percent vaccinated rate like in NCR,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a Viber message.

Concepcion welcomed the news. “That will serve now as incentive for LGUs (local government units) that were able to achieve 70 percent and higher that they have plus 20 percent on top of their current capacity,” he said.?Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said the additional operational capacity is a form of incentive for areas which have achieved a 70 percent vaccination rate.

He said dine-in restaurants, as well as personal care service establishments such as barbershops, beauty salons, nail spas and hair spas located in Metro Manila which moved to Alert Level 3 today, are allowed to operate at 30 percent indoor capacity and 50 percent outdoor capacity.

With the incentives, Abalos said these business establishments would be allowed to operate at as high as 60 percent for indoor capacity and 80 percent for outdoor patrons.

“These are good news. We are definitely looking towards a great fourth quarter,” Concepcion said.

He also welcomed the government’s move to set up a lending facility to help businesses provide the mandatory 13th month pay for their workers.

“It is very challenging especially at this time when you’ve been locked down so many times. Your cash flow is depleted and your bank loans have been extended or restructured,” he said.

Raising cap on arrivals

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) seeks to raise further the cap on daily international passenger arrivals in Manila.

The allowed international inbound arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were already hiked from 2,000 to 3,000 passengers since Oct. 1, DOTr Office for Transportation Security Administrator Raul del Rosario said.

Del Rosario, also One-Stop Shop head, told The STAR about plans to hike the cap by another 1,000 to 4,000 later this month since the turnaround time in quarantine facilities in Manila has been speeding up.

However, the current daily international inbound quota for other international gateways like the Clark International Airport and Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) stays the same, he said.

MCIA’s current cap is 1,000 a day, while for Clark, it is 450.

Del Rosario said an increase in the international arrival cap for MCIA is currently being evaluated, while that of Clark Airport would likely remain given limited quarantine facilities.

Airlines had previously asked the government to increase or even remove the daily arrival cap on international passengers to allow more Filipinos abroad to come home this holiday season.

Earlier, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to explore the use of various regional airports for arriving international flights to address the need to increase capacity for inbound passengers. – Helen Flores, Richmond Mercurio

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