May 5, 2021, 7:15 PM
The government has imposed temporary travel restrictions on passengers coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to prevent the entry of the coronavirus variant first reported in India.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued Wednesday a memorandum directing concerned agencies to implement the travel restrictions covering the four countries that will take effect from May 7 to May 14, 2021.
The expanded travel ban came after the country closed its borders on all travelers from India from April 29 to May 14 in light of the coronavirus crisis in the South Asian nation.
“All passengers coming from or who have been to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines shall be prohibited from entering the country effective 0001H of 07 May 2021 Manila time until 2359H 14 May 2021,” the memorandum read.
Filipinos and foreign passengers “merely transiting” through India and the four other countries, on the other hand, may be allowed entry to the Philippines subject to certain conditions.
In the Palace memo, all passengers in transit through these countries “shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to such country, provided that they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into these countries by their immigration authorities.” Upon arrival in the Philippines, these passengers will not be required to complete a 14-day facility-based quarantine “but shall comply with existing testing and quarantine protocols of the national government.”
The same Palace order directed that all specimens from travelers from the five countries that tested positive will be submitted for whole genome sequencing. “All close contacts must undergo facility-based quarantine for fourteen (14) days, and contact tracing shall expand up to to the third generation contacts,” the memo read.
The Palace also ruled that existing entry prohibitions and procedures on arriving passengers must continue to be implemented.
Medialdea’s memorandum was addressed to the chairpersons and members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. All concerned agencies were directed to implement the latest travel restrictions.
“The IATF may provide rules and regulations to implement this and related directives, which may include reasonable exceptions to the entry restrictions and protocols imposed by this Office in relation to the SARS-COV-2 B.1.617 Variant,” the memo read.