MANILA — The Philippines will prohibit the entry of travelers from France as a safeguard against the heavily mutated omicron COVID-19 variant, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
France from 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 10 until Dec. 15 will be included among territories in the so-called "Red List", or travelers from which are denied entry to the Philippines, said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
He said the restriction covers passengers who have been in France in the past 14 days.
Nograles said those who arrive on or after 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 10, but before 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 13 shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with an RT-PCR test on the 7th day, Nograles said.
Notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result, the completion of the 14-day quarantine is required, he added.
"Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to existing testing and quarantine protocols for Red List countries/territories/jurisdictions," said Nograles.
Minors shall follow the testing and quarantine protocols for the parent or guardian traveling with them, he said.
He said children 3 years old and below, regardless of country of origin, shall be exempt from the requirement of presenting a negative RT-PCR test result before boarding the flight, unless they are symptomatic.
"Notwithstanding the foregoing, passengers who arrived prior to December 10, 2021 and are currently undergoing quarantine shall complete the testing and quarantine protocols in effect at the time of their arrival," he said.
All passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through France shall not be deemed as having come from the country if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry, Nograles added.
France on Tuesday registered a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. It also reported 59,019 confirmed coronavirus infections, pushing the cumulative total to 7.99 million.
The Philippines earlier suspended flights to South Africa and 13 other countries to prevent Omicron, which has yet to be detected locally.
— With a report from Reuters