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Philippines sets new COVID-19 rules for arriving travelers

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Philippines sets new COVID-19 rules for arriving travelers
This Dec. 24, 2020 photo shows passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The STAR / KJ Rosales, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will enforce new protocols for arriving travelers, Malacañang said Friday as the government suspended its COVID-19 risk classifications for countries and territories.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Philippines suspended the "green-yellow-red list" system, which is used to classify countries, territories and jurisdictions based on their COVID-19 risk levels. 

Starting February 1, fully-vaccinated travelers will be required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they will no longer be required to observe mandatory facility-based quarantine. But they will need to self-monitor for any signs or symptoms for seven days with the first day being the date of arrival and report to the local government unit of destination upon the manifestation of symptoms, if any.

Nograles said fully-vaccinated travelers must have any of the following proofs of vaccination against COVID-19:

  • World Health Organization International Certificates of Vaccination and Prophylaxis
  • VaxCertPH
  • National or state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF

Meanwhile, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers will need to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

They will also be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day. Then, they will undergo home quarantine until the 14th day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

The government tasked local government units and Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams to monitor arriving passengers undergoing home quarantine.

For children below 12 years old who cannot be vaccinated, they will follow the quarantine protocol applied to the parent or guardian traveling with them.

Nograles added those who are currently undergoing quarantine as of February 1 may avail of the aforementioned testing and quarantine protocols.

The new COVID-19 travel protocols were based on the recommendations of the Task Force on COVID-19 New Variants and Sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics.

Entry of fully-vaccinated foreigners

Nograles also announced that fully-vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries will be allowed to enter the Philippines starting February 10.

"Remember we were supposed to do this nung December 1 pa and then we suspended it. And then now we’re implementing it again," he said.

Fully-vaccinated foreign nationals must have passport valid for at least six months at the time of arrival, and with return or outbound ticket to their country of origin or next country of destination.  

The must have any of the following proofs of vaccination against COVID-19:

  • World Health Organization International Certificates of Vaccination and Prophylaxis
  • VaxCertPH
  • National or state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF

According to Nograles, minors are exempted from the requirement of being fully-vaccinated and providing proof of immunization prior to boarding.

Fully-vaccinated foreigners will not be included in the arrival quota set by the Department of Transportation and its One-Stop-Shop. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

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