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France joins Phl ‘red list’

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Foreign travelers from France are barred from entering the Philippines from 13 to 15 December following its inclusion in the government’s “red” list, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had approved the escalation of France in the list after it had detected local cases of the newly-discovered Covid-19 Omicron variant.

“Beginning 13 December (12:01 a.m.) until the end of 15 December, entry in any port of the Philippines shall not be allowed for passengers coming from or who have been to France within the last 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines, regardless of vaccination status,” Nograles said through a statement.

Meanwhile, foreign travelers from France who would land on the Philippine shores between 10 December (12:01 am) and 13 December (12:01 am) may still enter the country, but they should undergo two-week facility-based quarantine and take coronavirus tests on the seventh day. Regardless of their test results, the said travelers should complete the 14-day quarantine period.

Returning Filipinos via repatriation or Bayanihan flights are exempted from restrictions and may be allowed entry, subject to the government’s existing testing and quarantine protocols.

All passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through France on the said dates would not be considered as having come from the said country if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry.

“As with all international inbound travel, the testing and quarantine protocols for minors shall follow the testing and quarantine protocols of the parent or guardian traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status,” Nograles said.

“This notwithstanding, children three years old and below, regardless of country of origin, shall be exempt from the requirement of presenting a negative RT-PCR test result before boarding the flight, unless symptomatic,” he added.

On the other hand, Nograles said passengers from France who arrived prior to 10 December and are currently undergoing quarantine should complete the testing and quarantine protocols in effect at the time of their arrival.

France is the 15th country under the Philippines’ red list amid fears on the Omicron variant, joining Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Czech Republic, Eswatini, Hungary, Italy, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, The Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, and Zimbabwe.

The country has yet to detect a local case of the Omicron variant.

Philippine authorities have so far detected 2.8 million coronavirus infections, of which 49,700 have been fatal.

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