Palace: IATF to consider ban on British travelers over new coronavirus strain

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2020 06:15 PM

Palace: IATF to consider ban on British travelers over new coronavirus strain 1
People enjoy the Christmas decorations outside The Ivy Chelsea Garden as the British government imposes a stricter tiered set of restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London, Britain, Dec. 20, 2020. Kevin Coombs, Reuters

MANILA — The inter-agency task force leading the country's efforts to snuff the COVID-19 pandemic will discuss whether or not to follow the example of other countries and ban travelers from the United Kingdom, where a new strain of coronavirus was reported, Malacañang said on Monday. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that the new strain had led to spiraling infection numbers. His government tightened its COVID-19 restrictions for London and nearby areas, and also reversed plans to ease restrictions over the Christmas period.

"Pag-uusapan pa po 'yan sa IATF, pero sa ngayon po in place pa naman ang ating protocols para sa lahat ng pumapasok sa Pilipinas," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters. 

(That will be discussed in the IATF, but for now, protocols are in place for those entering the Philippines.)

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The task force recently allowed foreign nationals with visas who will leave the Philippines starting Dec. 17 to reenter the country as long as their visas remained valid on the day of their arrival. 

They should also have a pre-booked quarantine facility, and a pre-booked COVID-19 testing at an airport laboratory. 

Countries including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, El Salvador, Iran and others have placed restrictions on British travelers and flights in response to Johnson's announcement.