PH updates list of ‘green’ countries

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021   •   1010

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.

 

Still no case of Omicron COVID-19 variant in PH – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – There is still no case of Omicron COVID-19 variant in the Philippines in the latest whole genome sequencing run, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In a statement, the DOH said that the genome sequencing conducted on Wednesday by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) on 48 samples did not detect the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant.

Of the 48 samples sequenced, 38 (79.17%) were Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases; the rest had non-VOC (variant of concern) lineages or had no lineages detected, the DOH added.

The latest sequencing run was composed of 12 returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) and 36 local cases from areas with high-risk average daily attack rates and case clusters.

“Of the additional 38 Delta variant cases, 31 were local cases and seven were ROFs,” the agency said.

“Two ROFs had travel histories from Turkey and one ROF each from Jordan, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, and Peru,” it added.

The DOH disclosed that of the 31 local cases, six had indicated addresses in Cagayan Valley Region, while five cases were from the Cordillera Administrative Region, three cases each from MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN, and the National Capital Region, two cases each from Central Luzon and CALABARZON, and one case from Davao Region.

“Based on the case line list, one local case is still active, 27 local and all seven ROF cases have been tagged as recovered, and three local cases are currently being verified as to their outcomes,” it said.

“All other details are being validated by the regional and local health offices,” it added.

The additional cases of Delta variant in the country bring the total tally to 7,886.

The DOH said that additional ROF and local cases from areas with increases or clustering will be prioritized for sequencing once these samples have been received by UP-PGC.

The agency added that it is currently coordinating with COVID-19 testing laboratories to expedite transport of these samples.

The DOH reminded the public that the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants is by adhering to the minimum public health standards.

“Everyone should continue to properly wear a face mask, wash their hands often, observe physical distancing, and ensure proper ventilation. Moreover, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 helps prevent severe disease and death,” it said.

“LGUs are urged to continuously conduct active case finding and immediately investigate clustering of cases to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the communities,” it added.

Over 1 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots arrive in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Another batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine procured by the government arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday night.

The shipment, containing  1,082,250 vaccine doses, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at past 8 p.m.

The said vaccine supply is expected to be used in the second round of nationwide vaccination drive set from December 15 to 17.

The government aims to vaccinate up to seven million people during this period.

With the arrival of the latest shipment of vaccines, the Philippines has now received around 150 million doses of various vaccine brands since February.

Philippines adds France to COVID-19 ‘red list’

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Wednesday placed France on the Philippines’ red list or countries that are high risk for COVID-19, Malacañang said.

In a statement, acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the escalation of France to the Red list is effective 12:01 a.m. of December 10 to 15.

Travelers who have been to France within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, and who will arrive on December 10 to 12, shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with an RT-PCR test on the 7th day, with day one being the date of arrival.

“Notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result, the completion of the 14-day quarantine is required,” Nograles said.

Beginning 12:01 a.m. of December 13 until December 15, 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.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to existing testing and quarantine protocols for Red List countries/territories/jurisdictions.

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

“This notwithstanding, children 3 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.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Palace official said that passengers who arrived prior to December 10, 2021 and are currently undergoing quarantine shall complete the testing and quarantine protocols in effect at the time of their arrival.

All passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through France shall not be 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 into such country by its immigration authorities.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall comply with the applicable testing and quarantine protocols for passengers who have not been to any Red List country/territory/jurisdiction.

The updated Red List comes amid the looming threat of newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant.

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