IATF exempts some foreigners from travel ban


Posted at Jan 22 2021 10:23 AM

A traveler checks her mobile phone at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, China Jan. 2, 2021. Tingshu Wang, Reuters

MANILA — The inter-agency task force leading the country’s pandemic response has exempted some foreigners from a travel ban meant to prevent a new, more contagious COVID-19 variant, Malacañang said on Friday.

The ban covers 34 countries that have reported cases of the variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom and includes a genetic mutation in the "spike" protein that could theoretically result in easier spread of COVID-19.

The IATF, which met on Thursday, identified the following foreign nationals exempted from the ban, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

- Those with valid visas, including the personnel of accredited international organizations;
- The spouse and underage children of Filipino citizens traveling with them.

Meanwhile, Filipinos arriving from areas covered by the ban were previously required to undergo a 14-day facility-based quarantine.

"Inamyendahan ng IATF at ginawa na lamang itong prescribed testing and quarantine protocols," Roque said on a a government-run television program.

(The IATF amended this and just made it prescribed testing and quarantine protocols)

"Sa Filipino citizens na mayroong highly exceptional and/or medical reasons, at mga lokal na diplomat, sila ay sasailalim pa rin sa applicable quarantine protocols as prescribed by the DOH," he added.

(Filipino citizens who have highly exceptional and/or medical reasons, and local diplomats, they will still undergo applicable quarantine protocols as prescribed by the DOH.)

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