DOH, IATF TO DISCUSS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR COUNTRIES WITH REPORTED CASES OF SARS-COV-2 UK VARIANT

Press Release | 27 December 2020

Following reports of detection of the UK variant of the SARS-CoV-2 in more countries, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco T. Duque III directed DOH technical teams and experts to review proposals for stricter control measures for travelers coming from countries which have reported cases of the new variant. Expert recommendations will be presented to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in its meeting tomorrow, December 28.

The DOH, in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), is closely monitoring countries with documented cases of the new UK variant. As previously issued by the DOH, these include Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. Further, the DOH continues to monitor countries reporting other new local variants such as South Africa.

On top of recommending strict mandatory 14-day quarantine for incoming travelers from the identified countries, the DOH with its panel of experts and WHO are also looking at the possible restriction of entry of travellers from these countries. This is being revisited alongside the new risk classification for provinces, HUCs, and ICCs and the anticipated post-holiday surge.

The Philippines through the President’s approval of IATF-EID Resolution No. 90 imposed a ban on all flights from the United Kingdom from December 24-31, 2020 -- the said ban remains in effect. During the December 26 meeting, the President approved the extension of the ban for an additional two weeks -- the operational details of which are also slated to be discussed in the IATF meeting tomorrow.

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