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Foreigners with visas, kids of Filipino citizens exempted from travel ban  

MJ Blancaflor

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Foreign nationals with visas, as well as the spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them, are now exempted from travel restrictions imposed by the Philippines in countries with reported cases of the more infectious Covid-19 variant, the Palace announced Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) amended its resolution on travel restrictions during its 95th meeting Thursday night.

“The IATF amended its earlier resolution, IATF Resolution No 92, on all foreign travelers covered by travel restrictions because of the new Covid-19 variants by specifying those exempted, such as foreign nationals with valid visas, which include personnel of accredited international organizations, and spouse and minor children of Filipino citizens traveling with them,” Roque said.

“Those who arrive for medical and emergency cases, including their medical escorts, if any, are now subject to applicable testing and quarantine protocols as prescribed by the Department of Health,” he added.

Under the existing IATF policy, all foreigners from 34 countries covered by restrictions are barred from entering the Philippines.

Filipinos flying home are exempted from restrictions, but they will undergo an absolute facility-based mandatory 14-day quarantine regardless of their swab test results.

Meanwhile, all passengers, Filipinos or foreigners alike, merely transiting through countries covered by travel restrictions will not be considered as having come from or having been to those areas if they merely stayed in the airport the whole time. They should not be cleared for entry by the immigration authorities of the said country.

Covered by the travel restrictions, which will last until January 31, are travelers from the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, and Finland.

Also included are Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Norway, Luxembourg, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

The government imposed restrictions to prevent the more infectious Covid-19 variant, dubbed as B117, from entering the Philippine shores.

The new variant was first discovered in London and is said to be 70 percent more transmissible than others. It is believed to be the cause of the recent surge of coronavirus infections in Europe.

There is no conclusive research yet if the new variant causes more severe cases of Covid-19, according to medical experts.

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