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Filipinos exempted from Philippine ban on 20 places, including HK

29 December 2020

By The SUN

 
Exempted Filipino travelers will have to spend 14 days in quarantine
despite testing negative for Covid

Filipino citizens are exempt from a travel ban that the Philippines is set to impose later tonight on 20 countries and territories because of the threat from a new coronavirus variant initially found in the United Kingdom. 

However, they will have to spend the mandatory 14-day quarantine in a hotel or a government-approved facility, unlike now, when they are allowed to spend the rest of the isolation period at home after testing negative for Covid-19.

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Among the new places added to the list was Hong Kong.

A statement issued by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that after midnight tonight, Dec 29, travelers from these countries and territories are banned from entering the Philippines:

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*          United Kingdom

•           Switzerland

•           Denmark 

*          Hong Kong

•           Singapore

•           Ireland

•           Japan

•           Germany

•           Australia

•           Iceland

•           South Africa

•           Italy

•           Israel

•           Spain

•           Netherlands

•           Lebanon

•           Canada

•           Sweden

•           France

•           South Korea

The ban, which was originally imposed only on the UK until Dec 31, has now been extended to include the 19 other countries and territories, and will last until January 15, 2021.

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But it will not apply to travelers from the flagged countries who are in transit or who arrive before 12:01am of Dec 30, although they will also be subjected to the same 14-day quarantine in a government-accredited facility even after testing negative for Covid-19.

Filipinos who arrive from the flagged countries
can only quarantine in govt-approved facilities

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The Department of Transportation was the first to issue an advisory on the travel restriction, but withdrew the same after confusion arose as to who were covered by the ban. 

During an online chat with reporters, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III only mentioned overseas Filipino workers being exempted from the ban.  

“Our president said, ‘Our OFWs should be allowed to return’,” Bello said in an interview.

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Roque advised the public to wait for guidelines from the Office of the President, saying his understanding was that all Filipinos who needed to go back home would not be stopped.


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Despite being allowed entry, the strict 14-day hotel quarantine is causing Filipinos who had planned on making a quick getaway in the Philippines to reconsider their travel plans.

It is also unclear as of this writing whether the foreign spouse or children of Filipino nationals will be allowed entry, as what has been enforced for the past few months.

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The same question is being raised on behalf of foreign air crew, who under a strict interpretation of the new regulation, are among those barred from entering the Philippines.

Filipino air crew could likewise be grounded by the strict 14-day hotel quarantine.

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In confirming the impending ban, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told reporters other countries that detect Covid-19 cases acquired from the variant could be added to the list. 

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