No more need to quarantine foreign arrivals once they are fully vaccinated

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles answers questions from media during Laging Handa’s press briefing on the COVID 19 update. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC.

Fully vaccinated foreign tourists and business travelers will be allowed to enter the country without going through government quarantine starting next month, Malacañang announced on Friday.

This will be the first time the country has welcomed these visitors since 2020 as it closed its borders to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting Presidential Spokesman Karlo Nograles said fully vaccinated nationals from countries that do not require visas will be allowed to enter from February 10.

A total of 157 countries are considered visa-free, including the United States, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and all other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

According to the latest Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) regulations, these travelers’ passports must be valid for at least six months from the time of arrival and have return or round-trip tickets to the next destination.

Passport, proof of vaccination

You must also provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination such as B. an international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis from the World Health Organization, a VaxCertPh or a digital certificate from a foreign government that has accepted the VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement.

However, children under the age of 18 are exempt from the full vaccination requirement.

Effective February 1, the government will suspend the color code classification of countries as red, yellow, or green that have been observed according to their risk of transmitting COVID-19.

The IATF said the fully vaccinated individuals would no longer have to go through the facility’s quarantine.

In addition, they do not count towards the arrival quota set by the Department of Transport.

Unvaccinated passengers

On the other hand, foreign travelers who remain unvaccinated will not be allowed to enter the country from February 16.

But Secretary of State Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a tweet on Friday: “We are considering admitting the unvaccinated, but with long quarantines.”

Meanwhile, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated passengers, as well as those whose vaccination status cannot be verified, must present a negative PCR test and undergo quarantine pending the publication of their test result on the fifth day.

They will then be treated in home quarantine until the 14th day after their arrival.

Those fully vaccinated are only asked to monitor themselves for symptoms for seven days.

However, they will be asked to provide a negative PCR test performed within 48 hours prior to departure from their country of origin.

All foreign travelers entering quarantine on February 1st, whether Filipino or foreign, are eligible to take advantage of these testing and quarantine protocols.

‘Huge Leap’

Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the quarantine requirement has been lifted for fully vaccinated people because experts believe “it no longer makes sense” given that coronavirus transmission is already high in the country.

Regarding the return of Filipinos from overseas, she said an analysis by the Philippine Genome Center showed that the number of those testing positive for COVID-19 was small.

Nograles said that with the new IATF rules, “the tourism industry will be able to recover and make a major contribution to the country’s job creation, livelihood and economic growth.”

Tourism Minister Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement: “[W]e are confident we can keep pace with our ASEAN neighbors who have already taken similar steps to reopen to foreign tourists.”

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the reopening of the country’s borders was “a huge step in the recovery of the tourism and international travel sector”.

Joey Concepcion, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, said, “We can now welcome both leisure and business travelers and this will give us benefits downstream [micro, small, and medium enterprises].” INQ

More news about the novel coronavirus can be found here.

What you need to know about Corona.

For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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