Nograles says PH 'back to old status quo' after ban on foreign travelers ends Jan. 31

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2021 09:37 AM | Updated as of Jan 30 2021 02:36 PM

MANILA - The Philippines is reopening its doors to select foreign nationals on February 1, 2021 after imposing a travel ban on travelers from countries that have reported the COVID-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, an official said Saturday.

“Ngayon po, sa February 1, ibabalik na natin sa status quo, 'yung dating status quo bago pa tayo nagkaroon ng travel ban restrictions,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

(On February 1, we will go back to our old status quo before we even implemented the travel ban restrictions.)

The ban on the entry of foreign travelers that started last December was meant to stop the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant. The ban, which at its peak covered over 30 countries, will end on Jan. 31.

The Philippines detected it first patient with the new variant earlier this month in a Filipino who had traveled back from Dubai.

Nograles, in an interview on TeleRadyo Saturday, said foreigners with tourist visas are still not allowed.

Those who will be allowed to enter are foreign spouses of Philippine nationals; foreign minor children and foreign children of Filipino nationals; foreign parents of minor Filipino children; foreign seafarers; accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents; foreign airline crew; those with valid long-term visas such as the temporary resident visa, legal resident status visa, permanent resident visa, and native born visa; foreign investors with valid visa, those with pre-arranged employment visa and balikbayan traveling with their spouse and dependent children.

He, however, said that the Bureau of Immigration has the exclusive prerogative to decide on the waiver or recall of exclusion orders.

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“Mayroon tayong bagong protocols ngayon na pagkapasok nila ay una dapat mayroon silang pre-arranged quarantine facility. Seven days ang minimum pre-booked niya. 'Pag pasok niya iche-check kung may sintomas siya,” he said.

(We have a new protocol that they should have a pre-arranged quarantine facility. The minimum booking is seven days. They will be checked for symptoms.)
 
Bookings must be made in an accredited isolation or quarantine hotel or facility. The traveler must then undergo swabbing after 5 days from arrival.

“On day 6 upon arrival, doon siya isa-swab. Kung negative i-endorse natin siya sa LGU na kaniyang destinasyon at doon po siya magpapatuloy ng strict quarantine niya for additional days para makakumpleto niya 'yung 14 days,” Nograles said.

(He will be swabbed on day 6 upon arrival. If he tested negative, he would be endorsed to his LGU destination where he will continue strict quarantine for additional days to complete the 14 days.)

The Philippines on Friday reported a total of 521,413 cases of COVID-19. The total includes 475,765 who recovered and 10,600 deaths.