Revealed: Why Philippines ended travel ban on UAE, 9 countries

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DOH explains why Philippines ended travel ban on UAE, 9 countries

 

MANILA – The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has revealed why the government on Monday (September 6) ended a travel ban on the UAE and nine other countries.

For months, the Philippines restricted the entry of travelers from UAE, Oman, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia as part of precautionary measures against the spread of Covid-19.

The move had stirred mixed reactions from UAE-based Filipinos, with many commenting on an Expatmedia.net story posted on Facebook that the restriction was “unfair”, particularly to vaccinated Filipinos wishing to come home.

While the travel ban was imposed, only those on repatriation flights or Bayanihan flights from restricted countries were allowed to enter the Philippines.  The travel ban was finally lifted on Monday.

In an online media forum on Monday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government decision to finally lift the travel ban was based on improved risk classification assessment of the 10 countries.

Vergerie said that four weeks prior to lifting the travel ban on the UAE and nine other countries, the Philippines adapted guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States.

She said the Philippines finally added a parameter for “leeway for other countries”, adding that the CDC parameters were “too strict” since most countries fall under “high or moderate risk classification”.

Vergerie said that the Philippines also added a metric on the incidence rate of Covid-19 cases in the countries previously in the travel ban list.

“Their situation improved based on the assessment internationally, they have gone to the moderate risk level countries, and their restrictions were lifted,” the official explained.

The UAE’s number of daily Covid-19 cases has continued to decline, with 977 new cases reported on Monday. A total of 77.5 percent of the UAE population are fully vaccinated, according to the UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.

Meanwhile, following the lifting of the travel ban, the Philippine health authority said that health safeguards, including strict border controls are in place, and that all travelers arriving in the country are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Travelers must spend the first 10 days of their quarantine in a facility, before proceeding with home quarantine for the remaining four days.

All passengers are also required to undergo an RT-PCR or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test on the seventh day of their quarantine. CAM/Expat Media


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