By J. Jala | 08:18 PM March 17, 2021
The Philipines will temporarily ban the entry of travelers, whether foreigners or Filipinos, from abroad — except returning overseas Filipino workers – starting on March 20, 2021.
The National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 said on Tuesday night that the temporary ban was based on the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country, according to a document posted on the Facebook page of the Department of Health (DOH).
In a memorandum circular, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who chairs the NTF, said the ban would start at 12:01 a.m. on March 20, a Saturday, and end on April 19. Also, the number of inbound passengers before the suspension takes effect will be limited to only 1,500 per day.
According to Lorenzana, only the following would be exempted from the travel suspension:
– Foreign seafarers with 9(c) visas
– ROFs and their escorts on medical repatriation (endorsed by DFA or OWWA)
-ROFs who are distressed (endorsed by DFA)
– ROFs on emergency, humanitarian, or analogous situation (approved by NTF COVID19)
The suspension of entry of foreigners and ROFs ends on April 19, 2021.
On Monday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that this latest surge of COVID-19 cases would approach the peak levels recorded in August 2020.
Analytics group OCTA Research and other observers then warned that the current COVID-19 surge might have been caused by variants spreading undetected in the country.
Entry of international passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport shall also be restricted to maximum of 1,500 per day beginning March 18, 2021 until April 18, 2021.