Philippines loosens borders as coronavirus cases continue to drop

Xave Gregorio – Philstar.com

November 26, 2021 | 1:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — Foreigners who do not need a visa to enter the Philippines may come to the country again as it now allows them to make a visit without quarantining provided that they are fully-vaccinated, come from a “Green List” country and present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours before departure.

This new policy, adopted by the government’s pandemic task force, will be in effect from December 1 up until December 15 and will affect nationals of 159 countries and territories who are not required to obtain a visa to come to the Philippines.

Foreigners who fall under this category must have stayed exclusively for 14 days in areas placed by the Philippines under its “Green List” for them to be allowed entry.

Foreigners who just transited through non-Green List areas will not be deemed as coming from those places as long as they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry.

Those who are vaccinated but fail to get tested for COVID-19 before traveling will have to quarantine in a facility until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day of their quarantine.

They must hold passports which are valid for at least six months at the time of arrival and a return ticket to their country of origin or next country of destination.

They must also present either a World Health Organization International Certificates of Vaccination and Prophylaxis, a digital vaccination certificate generated through VaxCertPH or a national or state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement.

Testing and quarantine protocols of minors will follow the protocols set for their parents or guardians traveling with them.

The Philippines’ decision to loosen borders comes at a time when it is pushing for a reopening of its badly-hit tourism sector to international travelers as COVID-19 cases continue to decline after a devastating Delta-driven surge that started in August.