PH eases rules for fully vaccinated foreigners
The government’s pandemic task force has further eased rules for fully vaccinated foreign travelers by removing the requirement for an entry exemption document for those coming to the Philippines beginning April 1.
Under previous rules, fully vaccinated foreign travelers needed to get the entry exemption document if they would be coming from visa-required countries or visa-free countries but would stay in the Philippines for more than 30 days.
But in the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the foreign nationals would no longer need the entry exemption document provided that they comply with the applicable visa requirements and immigration entry and departure formalities.
Proof of vaccination
They must also be fully vaccinated, unless they are minor children below 12 years old traveling with their fully vaccinated foreign parents.
Kris Ablan, deputy presidential spokesperson, said this latest rule means the government would no longer have any listing of which country the foreign national originates from.
“As long as they are able to present valid proof of vaccination and other guidelines which I mentioned earlier, then they will be accepted in the country,” Ablan said at a press briefing.
The IATF said the foreign nationals must carry proof of vaccination as well as present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test taken within 48 hours or a laboratory antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure from their country of origin.
Their passports must also be valid for at least six months at the time of their arrival in the Philippines.
They must have travel insurance for COVID-19 treatment costs from reputable insurance providers with a minimum coverage of $35,000.
No more quarantine
They must also have valid tickets for their return journey, unless they are foreign spouses or children of Filipino citizens or former Filipino citizens with balikbayan privileges.
The IATF said they would not be required to undergo facility-based quarantine but should self-monitor for symptoms for seven days.
The Philippines reopened to fully vaccinated tourist and business travelers in February, a move expected to revive the tourism industry, which was badly affected by border closures due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) is studying a proposal to redefine the term “fully vaccinated” by including the booster shot as a requirement, although the idea has met some resistance from experts, according to Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
The proposal comes amid the slow administration of booster shots in the country.
Only close to 11 million have received the shot, and another 44 million are already eligible for it, Vergeire noted.
She said the DOH was already discussing the proposal to include the booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated, although some of its experts were opposed to this.
“But of course, according to our experts, they were saying that this does not seem appropriate,” she said in a Malacañang briefing.
The DOH is still looking for evidence to support this and studying the practices of other countries and credible institutions abroad, she said.
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