MANILA— The Philippines will ban the entry of foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated from COVID-19 starting Feb. 16, as the government revised its protocols for international travelers and returning Filipinos, Malacañang said Friday.
Acting Malacañang Spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said this was based on the pandemic inter-agency task force's (IATF) Resolution No. 157.
"Sorry to say pero by Feb. 16, pag hindi fully vaccinated, hindi natin papapasukin," Nograles said in a televised public briefing.
(If they are not fully vaccinated, we will not allow them to enter the country.)
Government has approved dropping facility-based quarantine for fully-vaccinated international travelers and returning overseas Filipinos.
Fully-vaccinated nationals of non-visa requiring countries under Executive Order 408, series of 1960 will also be allowed to enter the Philippines starting February 10, 2022.
This allows the entry of fully-vaccinated international travelers for business and tourism purposes as provided for by the EO.
"Yung under EO 408, kailangan fully vaccinated, makikita natin na we are only allowing foreign nationals coming in na fully vaccinated," he said.
(Under EO 408, they must be fully vaccinated. We could see that we are only allowing foreign nationals coming in fully vaccinated.)
"Kapag hindi fully vaccinated, hindi po puwede, pero absolutely sa 16 tama po yun, wala nang foreign nationals na makakapasok dito na hindi fully vaccinated," he added.
(If they are not fully vaccinated, they cannot enter. Absolutely, by the 16th, no foreign nationals could enter the country who are not fully vaccinated.)
The development comes weeks after government also started a ban on unvaccinated people from public transport in the capital region.
Transport rights groups and human rights advocates have previously expressed their position to the "no vax, no ride" policy, saying that a more organized and more systemic approach is needed to stop the spread of the virus.
The Philippines is currently battling a fresh wave of new COVID-19 infections most likely driven by the more transmissible omicron variant.
On Thursday, the health department confirmed more than 18,000 new novel coronavirus infections.
-- With a report from Mico Abarro, ABS-CBN News