PH suspends testing, quarantine protocols for travelers from certain countries

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 | photo

THE Philippines has temporarily suspended its lenient testing and quarantine protocols for countries or territories classified as “green” starting on November 29, according to Malacañang.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Sunday, Nov. 28, announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the temporary suspension until December 15.

“The IATF likewise approved the temporary suspension of testing and quarantine protocols for countries/jurisdictions/territories classified as ‘Green’ effective immediately until December 15, 2021,” he said in a statement.

This means that fully vaccinated travelers in all ports of entry will be required to undergo a three-day quarantine even with a negative COVID-19 test result.

Meanwhile, travelers who are unvaccinated, as well as those with incomplete doses or without a negative COVID-19 test result will be required to undergo quarantine for five days.

However, travelers from “green” countries who arrived prior to Nov. 28 may still follow quarantine protocols assigned to their country of origin upon the date of their arrival.

Nograles also announced that the IATF suspended Resolution No. 150-A (Series of 2021), which allowed the entry of fully vaccinated nationals who don’t need a visa in the Philippines, amid the increasing threat of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“With Omicron designated as a Variant of Concern, the IATF likewise approved the recommendations to strengthen local COVID-19 response,” the statement read.

“These include strongly enjoining the local government units to heighten their alert for increasing and clustering of cases and emphasizing the need for active case finding; to immediately conduct contact tracing and isolation of cases detected from case surveillance among the community, including domestic and international travelers; and to use RT-PCR testing in order to allow for whole-genome sequencing of collected samples,” it added.

Further, the Philippines added more countries to its “red” list.

Effective until Dec. 15, the countries classified as “red” are South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy.

This means international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to “red” countries/jurisdictions/territories within the last 14 days prior to arrival to any port of the Philippines will not be allowed.

“Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for Red List countries/jurisdictions/territories,” said Nograles.

Meanwhile, there are currently 41 countries, territories, or foreign jurisdictions classified as “green.” Among them are American Samoa, Bhutan, Chad, China (Mainland), Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Federated States of Micronesia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), India, Indonesia, and Japan.

Also included in the “green” list are Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Montserrat, Morocco, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Sudan, Taiwan, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Zambia. n

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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