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COVID-19 WATCH

Portugal joins Phl ‘red’ list

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The Philippines will ban entry by people who have recently travelled to Portugal in an effort to stop the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

The restrictions came after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had approved the escalation of Portugal in the government’s “red” list.

Under the guidelines, foreign travelers coming from or who have been to Portugal, regardless of their vaccination status, are prohibited to enter the country starting 15 December, according to the task force.

Filipinos returning to the country via repatriation or Bayanihan flights are exempted from restrictions and may be allowed entry provided that they adhere to mandatory testing and 14-day quarantine.

Foreigners merely transiting through Portugal are not deemed as having come from or having been to said country if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry.

Foreign passengers who will arrive prior to 12 December and are currently undergoing quarantine should observe the existing testing and quarantine protocols, while those who will set foot on the Philippines from 12 December (12:01 a.m.) and 15 December (12:01 a.m.) should follow the new protocols set by the IATF.

Among the requirements include negative swab test results taken within 72 hours prior to their flights. The rule applies for vaccinated, partially vaccinated, and unvaccinated passengers.

Vaccinated passengers are required to undergo facility-based quarantine with RT-PCRs test taken on the seventh day.

They may be discharged from the facility upon the release of their negative results, but should observe home quarantine until the 14th day of their arrival.

For individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they should be required to undergo a mandatory 10 day facility-based quarantine with RT-PCR testing
on the seventh day.

They may be discharged only upon the completion of a 10-day facility-based quarantine, regardless of whether they yielded negative test results, and should observe home quarantine until the 14th day of arrival.

As in all international inbound travels, the testing and quarantine protocols for minors are the same with the testing and quarantine protocols of the adults traveling with them.

“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,” the IATF said.

Portugal is the latest European country which joined the Philippines’ “red” list, which refers to territories deemed as high risk for coronavirus. It recently recorded at least 37 cases of the Omicron variant.

France has also been included in the list, which has so far detected 25 Omicron cases.

Also included are 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, which has been confirmed in at least 57 countries as of latest World Health Organization’s count.

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

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