IATF tightens border control, suspends entry of fully vaxxed travelers from ‘green’ countries
MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has temporarily suspended the resolution which permits the entry of fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries from “green” list amid the Omicron COVID-19 variant threat, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Monday.
“Green” countries, territories, or foreign jurisdictions are considered low-risk for COVID-19.
“Inaprubahan din ng IATF kahapon ang pansamantalang suspension ng IATF Resolution No. 150-A series of 2021, providing for the entry of fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries under EO (Executive Order) No. 408 series of 1960 as amended, from green list countries, jurisdictions, and territories,” he said during the Palace press briefing.
(The IATF also approved yesterday the temporary suspension of the IATF resolution No. 150 series of 2021.)
The move is among the government’s efforts to prevent the possible entry of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa.
The government also temporarily suspended testing and quarantine protocols for nations or territories in “green” list effective Sunday until December 15.
Under the suspended resolution, those coming from “green” countries must have proof of vaccination, a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from their origin country. Facility-based quarantine and on-site arrival RT-PCR test were likewise not required.
Currently, 41 nations, territories, or foreign jurisdictions are in the country’s green list.
Inbound flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy were also banned until December 15.
Still, the government has yet to close the borders on some countries that have both confirmed to have detected Omicron cases in their respective areas, including Hong Kong and Australia, where there are a high concentration of Filipinos who may want to be repatriated.
According to Nograles, areas barred or placed under the “red” list are those that detected a local case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.