THE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved on Sunday, November 28, the expansion of flight ban to seven more countries amid the threat of Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy were added to the countries under Red list (high-risk for Covid-19), which initially includes South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique.

The flight restriction from the said countries is effective until December 15, 2021.

READ: PH bans flights from Hong Kong due to Omicron variant

“Inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to Red List countries/jurisdictions/territories within the last 14 days prior to arrival to any port of the Philippines shall not be allowed,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

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

Travelers who were already in transit from the said countries within 14 days prior to their arrival in the Philippines are not covered by the restrictions, but they will have to undergo mandatory facility-based quarantine for 14 days with testing on the seventh day, with their date of their arrival being their first day.

Passengers who have already arrived prior to November 28, 2021 and are currently undergoing quarantine pursuant to the classifications of their country of origin shall complete their respective testing and quarantine protocols.

Travelers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through the countries under Red list, 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.

The IATF also approved the temporary suspension of its Resolution 150-A (series of 2021), which allows the entry of fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries. (SunStar Philippines)