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Filipinos Allowed To Fly Home From Red List Countries

Filipinos Allowed To Fly Home From Red List Countries
Returning overseas Filipinos arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Dec. 28, 2021. Photo by KJ Rosales, The Philippine STAR

The government has lifted its travel restrictions on Filipinos coming from “red list” countries and territories, or those considered at high risk for COVID-19, Malacañang announced Friday, Jan. 14.

Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said even Filipinos returning via regular flights can enter the country from Jan. 16 to 31.

He said foreign tourists from red list areas are still prohibited from entering the country.

Under a previous resolution, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) only allowed entry of Filipino citizens from red list countries and territories if they are arriving via government and non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan flights.

Meanwhile, IATF Resolution 157 approved on Thursday, Jan. 13,requires international travelers to get a COVID-19 swab test 48 hours before their departure for the Philippines, instead of the previous 72 hours.

“The negative pre-departure RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure, which was our previous protocol, shall be honored until Jan. 19, 12:01 a.m.,” Nograles said at a press briefing.

Nograles said the government imposed a ban on travelers from red list countries to prevent the entry of the highly infectious Omicron variant.

“Because we already have cases of Omicron, and we have many compatriots, for example from the red list countries, who want to go home, based on our previous protocols we need Bayanihan flights for them to come home,” Nograles said in justifying the new government policy.

“We decided that Filipinos coming even from red list countries can come in as long as they comply with the protocols. They don’t need to wait for Bayanihan flights from these countries,” he said.

The IATF has placed the follow countries under the red list from Jan. 16 to 31:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Canada
  • Curacao
  • French Guiana
  • Iceland
  • Malta
  • Mayotte
  • Mozambique
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Spain
  • US Virgin Islands

“The inbound international travel of all persons coming from or who have been to Red List countries/jurisdictions/territories within the last 14 days prior to arrival to any port of the Philippines shall be allowed,” the resolution read.

Fully vaccinated individuals from red list countries and territories need to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure.

Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine and take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day, with the date of arrival being the first day.

If negative for COVID-19, they may be released from the facility quarantine, but they need to undergo home quarantine until the 14th day.

Nograles also announced the countries under the “green list,” or areas classified “low risk” for COVID-19, from Jan. 16 to 31. These include:

  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • British Virgin Islands
  • China
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leo-ne
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Timor-Leste
  • Uganda

Fully vaccinated individuals from these countries must have negative result from the RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before departure.

“Upon arrival, they shall no longer be required to observe mandatory facility-based quarantine but shall self-monitor for any sign or symptom for seven days with the first day being the date of arrival,” the IATF resolution said.

Those unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be validated, must show a negative RT-PCR test result taken 48 hours before departure. They are also re-quired to undergo facility-based quarantine upon arrival, and take the RT-PCR test on the fifth day.

They are allowed to leave the quarantine facility once they receive a negative test result but must self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. All countries not in red or green lists fall under the yellow risk.

Fully vaccinated individuals from yellow list countries must present a negative result from the RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before departure.

They are also required to undergo facility-based quarantine upon arrival, and take the RT-PCR test on the fifth day.

They are allowed to leave the quarantine facility once they test negative for the disease and continue their quarantine at home until the seventh day.

Individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be validated must present a negative result of the RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before departure.

They shall undergo facility-based quarantine upon arrival, and take the RT-PCR test on the seventh day.

They are allowed to leave the quarantine facility once they receive negative test result but must undergo home quarantine until the 14th day.

Meanwhile, beginning Feb. 16, the Philippines will require foreign nationals entering the country to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination.

“Beginning Feb.16, 2022, proof of full vaccination shall be made a requirement for entry of all foreign nationals allowed to enter the Philippines,” Nograles said.

He said proof of full inoculation should be presented “prior to boarding flights to any points in the Philippines.”

He said travelers exempted from this rule are children below 18 years old; people medically unable to receive the vaccine, as certified by competent public health region in the country of origin; and foreign diplomats and their qualified dependents or 9(e) visa holders.