(UPDATED) The Philippines has extended travel restrictions on travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Oman until July 15, 2021 as a preventive measure against the Delta variant of the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
No ban has been imposed on Indonesia, where infections have soared to new highs.
Beginning July 1, the arrival protocol for fully vaccinated travelers will also apply to travelers who were fully vaccinated in other countries and stayed exclusively in “green” countries, or low-risk countries to be identified by the Department of Health, in the 14 days immediately preceding arrival.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., in his regular press briefing on Tuesday, June 29, said the travel ban on the seven countries is a proactive measure to implement border control against the Delta variant.
The Delta variant of Sars-CoV-2, or B.1.617.2, emerged in India and has not spread to at least 85 countries. The World Health Organization describes it as the most transmissible form of the virus.
The extension of the ban is contained in Resolution 123 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Roque also said that although there is no ban on travelers from Indonesia, the government will tighten border control. He noted that foreigners are still not allowed entry into the country, except those with long-term visas.
Meanwhile, IATF Resolution 123-C eases arrival protocols effective July 1 for travelers who are fully vaccinated in the Philippines and in other countries who stayed only in "green" countries in at least two weeks preceding arrival.
Inbound travelers vaccinated in the Philippines should have their vaccination cards certified prior to departure through the Certificate of Vaccination Record Portal of the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the City Health Officer of the local government unit where they were vaccinated.
For those who were fully vaccinated outside the Philippines, they must present to Philippine airport authorities upon arrival their official documentation of full vaccination validated through Philippine Overseas Labor Office or present their international certificate of vaccination.
A person is considered fully vaccinated at least two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine or two doses of a two-dose vaccine against Covid-19. The vaccines must be authorized.
Fully vaccinated international travelers are required to undergo facility-based quarantine only for seven days, shorter than the 10 days for unvaccinated travelers.
The fully vaccinated persons will also undergo a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) only if they develop symptoms.
Such test for Sars-CoV-2 is required for unvaccinated international travelers on the seventh day of facility-based quarantine. Despite a negative result, the traveler is required to complete 10 days in quarantine before undergoing an additional four days of home quarantine. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)