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Update on Philippine Travel Ban amid Omicron Variant

PHILIPPINE TRAVEL BAN – The national government has expanded the travel ban in the Philippines amid the threat of the Omicron variant.

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people’s lives for more than a year now. In the Philippines, the national government continues to remind the public to be vigilant as the pandemic is not yet over. The wearing of face masks remains a protocol.

Many companies and businesses were not able to cope with the demands of the pandemic and had to temporarily or permanently close. A lot of Filipinos lost their jobs amid the crisis in the country. There were instances of the COVID-19 cases going down but there are also times when it spikes again after some time.

Recently, the mandatory wearing of face shields was lifted. However, due to a new variant of COVID-19 detected in South Africa, the national government is mulling over the re-implementation of the policy.

Philippine Travel Ban
Photo: Philippine Star

A “heavily mutated” variant of COVID-19 was detected in South Africa and it is present in several other countries now. Initially called the B.1.1529, the World Health Organization (WHO) named it Omicron.

Studies are ongoing regarding the Omicron but WHO has warned countries to take efforts to prevent its entry. Several countries implemented a travel ban. Based on a report on ABS-CBN News, the Philippine travel ban currently includes the following countries:

  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Namibia
  • Mozambique
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • South Africa
  • Netherlands
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium

The government has yet to decide on the inclusion of Hong Kong, which also recorded cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, in the Philippine travel ban. Reportedly, only the returning Filipinos are allowed entry from the Red List countries. The country is currently under National Vaccination that started yesterday, November 29, 2021 and is set until December 1, 2021.

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