MANILA - Filipinos with medical emergencies arriving from countries with new COVID-19 variants are allowed to enter the Philippines as long as they follow strict pandemic protocols, the government said Monday.
The Philippines had extended until the end of the month a ban on travelers from 32 countries earlier included in the restriction to halt the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants.
The Department of Health earlier recommended "a strict mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers from countries" with reported cases of the new variant.
Foreign spouses of Filipinos cannot enter the country unless it's a medical emergency, said National Task Force spokesperson Retired Gen. Restituto Padilla.
"Ang pwede po ay medical emergencies. Meron pong provision sa pinalabas na mga abiso, na pag meron pong emergency lalo na po 'yung medical, maaaring payagan provided na makipagcoordinate lang sa mga awtoridad," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(Medical emergencies are allowed. There provisions in the guidelines that if there's an emergency, especially if it's medical, they might be allowed if they coordinate with authorities.)
Filipino migrant workers are still discouraged to return home for vacation as they would have to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine, Padilla said.
"Ang abiso po ay wag na po tutuloy kasi di lang po tayo ang naghihigpit... Iniingatan po natin ang pagkalat ng mga bagong variant na ito," he said.
(The advise is not to come home because we're not th eonly ones with restrictions...We want to avoid the spread of these new variants.)