Foreign travelers from nine countries classified under “red list” were barred from entering the Philippines from 12 to 18 September, Malacañang announced Friday, in an effort to arrest the spread of Covid-19.
Those who traveled in Azerbaijan, Guadeloupe, Guam, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Saint Lucia, and Switzerland within the last 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines were included in the travel restriction, said presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque.
Those already in transit and would arrive before 12 September, as well as returning Filipinos via repatriation programs and special commercial flights, were exempted from the new curbs, Roque added.
“In the case of Filipino or foreign passengers who merely transited through any of the abovementioned countries, they shall not be considered as having come or having been to the said country, provided they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by immigration authorities,” the Palace official said.
As a precautionary measure, Roque said those excluded from restrictions were required to undergo swab tests for coronavirus on the seventh day upon arrival.
They also have to observe an absolute facility-based quarantine for 10 days and another four-day isolation at their respective local government units of destination regardless of their test results.
The travel restriction follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the inclusion of Azerbaijan, Guadeloupe, Guam, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Saint Lucia, and Switzerland in the “red list” countries.
It came as the Philippines continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease, with 2.17 million confirmed infections nationwide.
Of these, over 175,000 cases were active. The Covid-19 death toll has reached 34,899, while recoveries soared to 1.96 million.
The country’s daily case rate was the second highest in Southeast Asia — next to Malaysia — with the government trying desperately to spur activity in an economy that contracted a record 9.5 percent last year.