PH extends ban on travelers from India to May 31; adds Oman, UAE in travel restrictions

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021   •   482

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has extended its existing ban on travelers from India until May 31 to prevent the spread of a coronavirus variant first detected in the South Asian nation, Malacañang said.

In a statement on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said passengers coming from India are still not allowed to enter the Philippines until 2359H of May 31, 2021.

The Philippines also extended its travel ban for passengers coming from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in the same period.

Roque also announced the expansion of the country’s travel restrictions to include travelers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or those with travel history to these countries within the last 14 days preceding arrival.

The entry ban on travelers from Oman and the UAE will take effect on May 15 until May 31.

Roque said the ban was recommended by the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Passengers who are already in transit from the said countries or have been to the same areas within 14 days and arrived in the Philippines before May 15 will be allowed entry.

They will, however, be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols, notwithstanding a negative Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) result.

“The Department of Transportation should ensure that airlines are directed not to allow the boarding of passengers who are prohibited from entering the country pursuant to travel restrictions imposed by the Office of the President and IATF resolutions except if they are part of the repatriation efforts of the national government,” Roque said.

PH updates list of ‘green’ countries

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Friday released an updated list of countries classified under green, yellow, and red, Malacañang said.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that from October 16 to 31, passengers from Romania will be barred from entering the Philippines after it was placed under the “red” list or classified as high risk for COVID-19.

The “green” list, which is classified as low-risk based on COVID-19 incidence rate, includes the following countries:

  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Bhutan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China (Mainland)
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • Kiribati
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Niue
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Samoa
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria,
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

All other countries/jurisdictions/territories not mentioned are classified as yellow list, which is classified as moderate risk for COVID-19.

The IATF said that foreign travelers from “green” countries who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination are only required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

“Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine will be further required but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day,” the task force added.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Filipinos from green countries may choose between the following options:

  • Facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken in the quarantine facility upon arrival
  • No facility-based quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, Roque said they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day.

In the case of foreign nationals, they shall be required to secure hotel reservations for at least 6 days, he added.

“In the case of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated minor children traveling with their fully vaccinated parent/s or guardians, they shall be required to observe the quarantine protocols corresponding to their vaccination status,” Roque said.

“A parent/guardian shall accompany the child in the quarantine facility for the full term of the latter’s facility-based quarantine period,” he added.

On the other hand, travelers from “yellow” countries will have to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 10th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 6 days.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified by Philippine authorities as valid and authentic coming from the “yellow” list, they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 7th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 14th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 8 days.

Under IATF guidelines, inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to “red” list within the last 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines shall not be allowed.

“Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated repatriation, non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to testing and quarantine protocols,” Roque said.

These protocols include the following:

  • All arriving passengers shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival. The first 10 days shall be observed in a quarantine facility, with remainder to be completed under home quarantine in their respective local government units of destination.
  • RT-PCR testing shall be conducted on the 7th day. Notwithstanding a negative test result, the arriving passenger shall complete the facility-based quarantine period of 10 days.
  • The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for 10 days.
  • All passengers merely transiting through a “red” list shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country/jurisdiction/territory if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities.
  • Upon arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by the preceding paragraph shall comply with the existing and testing protocols.

To validate their vaccination status, overseas Filipino workers and their spouse, parent/s, and / or children traveling in the Philippines or abroad, non-OFWs vaccinated in the country or abroad, and foreigners vaccinated in the Philippines can present either of the following:

  • VaxCertPH digital vaccination certificate
  • BOQ/World Health Organization (WHO)-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICV)
  • The national/state digital certificate of the foreign government where they were vaccinated, which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF

In the case of foreigners vaccinated abroad, they can present WHO-issued ICV, or the national/state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF, Roque said.

 

PNP chief Eleazar vows to improve operations after PH’s low ranking in world rule of law index

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Friday vowed to further improve the organization’s commitment to its mandate following the release of a World Justice Project (WJP) 2021 report in which the country ranked low in the world rule of law index.

The Philippines ranked 102 out of 139 countries on compliance with the rule of law, dropping three positions in global rank.

“We in the Philippine National Police take note of the report of the World Justice Project and consider this as a challenge to do more on our mandate of maintaining peace and order,” Eleazar said in a statement.

He said the PNP will also further improve its commitment to serve and protect the people, and to strengthen resolve for the Filipino people to continue to have trust and confidence in the country’s justice system.

The WJP, a global think tank, indicated in its report that the Philippines’ current rank was three places lower than its ranking in 2020. The country’s score also decreased by 2.9 percent in the current index.

The WJP said the Philippines scored an overall 0.46 for rule of law. The body’s highest score is 1 while 0 is the lowest possible score.

The index covers 139 countries and jurisdictions, and is based on national surveys of more than 138,000 households and 4,200 legal practitioners and experts to measure how the rule of law is experience and perceived around the world.

While the WJP data were only collected in three major cities in the Philippines compared to a nationwide scope done in the majority of the countries surveyed, Eleazar said that they still consider the report as “a valuable tool to review, assess and make the necessary adjustments” since Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao are appropriate representations of the peace and order situation of the country.

“Our ultimate goal for every Filipino to feel the true sense of security and justice in the country has been a work in progress, and inputs from various institutions that include the WJP are always factored in to rethink and adjust our policies to attain this objective,” he said.

“We assure our kababayan that your Philippine National Police will continuously strengthen the transparency and accountability in the police organization and tirelessly work and initiate reforms to ensure that every police officer would live up to the high ethical, moral and service standards of the Filipino people,” he added.

 

DOH, may paalala sa mga magulang o guardian ng mga batang babakunahan vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Handa na ang Department of Health (DOH) para sa gagawing pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19 sa Biyernes ng mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17.

Ayon sa DOH-National Capital Region (NCR) director Dr. Gloria Balboa, nagsasagawa na sila ng simulation exercise para sa pilot vaccination.

Noong Miyerkules idinaos ang simulation sa Philippine General Hospital (PGH) at National Children’s Hospital habang ngayong araw naman ang sa anim pang ospital na kasali sa pilot pediatric vaccination program.

“Kahapon na-deliver na ang bakunang gagamitin, its Pfizer,” ani Balboa.

“Very important din iyong cold chain, iyong storage nila kasi kailangan itong Pfizer merong ultra low freezer… Ang isang tray kasi is 1,170 doses times 8 iyon,” dagdag pa niya.

Prayoridad na mabakunahan ang mga batang may co-morbidities.

Batay sa inilabas na listahan ng DOH, ang mga menor de edad na kailangang mabigyan ng COVID-19 vaccine shot ay may medical complexity, genetic conditions, neurologic conditions, metabolic/endocrine, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, hiv infection, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease, renal disorders, at hepatobiliary.

Paglilinaw ng DOH, ang mga babakunahang bata sa mga ospital ay mga pasyenteng may record na rin sa kanila kahit saang local government unit pa sila nasasakop.

Ani Balboa, layunin nito na mas mapadali ang monitoring sa mga bata.

“We really have to be very careful kasi hindi pa natin alam ano maigiging epekto talaga ng bakuna with them because of the comorbidities na meron sila,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa ikalawang linggo aniya ng pilot implementation ay maaari nang tumanggap ng mga batang magpapabakuna kahit hindi sila pasyente sa naturang ospital.

Una nang naglabas ng guidelines ang DOH para sa COVID-19 vaccination ng mga menor de edad.

Gaya ng adult vaccination, dapat ay dumaan sa ang mga bata registration, screening at assessment ng kanilang kondisyon.

Bago ang aktwal na pagbabakuna, kailangang kasama ng bata ang magulang o guardian na siyang pipirma sa informed consent and assent form na ibibigay ng ospital.

Mahalaga ang assent ng mga bata upang matiyak na hindi sila pinilit na mabakunahan kontra COVID-19

Paalala rin ng DOH na may requirements na dapat maiprisinta bago ang pagbabakuna gaya ng medical certificate bilang patunay na may comorbidity ang bata. Ito ang magsisilbing clearance mula sa kanilang pediatrician.

Kailangan ding dalhin ang dokumento na magpapatunay ng filiation o relasyon ng bata sa kasama niyang adult sa araw ng pagpapabakuna.

Pagkatapos mabakunahan ay isasailalim sa monitoring ang mga bata upang makita ang epekto ng COVID-19 vaccine sa kanilang kalusugan.

May reporting system din sa Food and Drug Administration ng mga batang makararanas ng adverse events following immunization (AEFI).

Bukod sa PGH at National Children’s Hospital, idaraos rin ang pediatric vaccination sa mga sumusunod na ospital:

  • Philippine Heart Center
  • Pasig City Children’s Hospital
  • Fe Del Mundo Medical Center
  • Philippine General Hospital
  • Makati Medical Center
  • St Luke’s Medical Center (Taguig)

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, 400 o 50 bata kada araw ang target na mabakunahan sa bawat ospital.

Ayon sa DOH, 12.7 million na mga batang Pilipino na may comorbidities ang eligible para sa pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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