Picture shown for illustrative purposes only.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Filipino citizens who wish to go home for good, for visits or for business to their country may do so. They must be ready though to observe the 14-day Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) quarantine, among other health procedures and protocol upon arrival, beginning Jan. 17 (Sunday).
Moreover, Filipino children must be accompanied by their Filipino citizen parents while it is only unaccompanied minors repatriated by the Philippine diplomatic and consular missions who are going to be allowed to board aircraft.
“Be prepared for entry protocol and the required 14-day quarantine period upon arrival at Philippine airports.”
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Also, the entry of former Filipinos (“Balikbayans”) and their non-Filipino spouse, non-Filipino children of Filipino citizens, and other non-Filipinos from 35 countries including the UAE, are restricted until Jan. 31 (Saturday), for now.
These are contained in the Philippine Embassy-Abu Dhabi Public Advisory No. 01-2021 signed by Ambassador Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, forwarded to Gulf Today on late Friday evening.
Picture shown is for illustrative purposes only.
The public advisory, “Entry Of Filipino Citizens To The Philippines Is Allowed Under New Covid-19 Variant Travel Restrictions,” applies as well to all Filipino citizens transiting through the UAE. It reminds the concerned to go over the Facebook Page of Manila’s Bureau of Immigration (BI).
A Sharjah resident called up Emirates Airlines and Philippine Airlines on Saturday as the social media and Facebook continue to be flooded with news that the Philippines is on lockdown and even Filipino citizens could not enter and exit from their country.
The resident was informed that there are no flight cancellations to the Philippines.
As of 4:42 GMT of Jan. 16 (Saturday), COVID-19 cases in the Philippine archipelago were at 496,646 with 459,737 recovered and 9,876 deaths.
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a press conference. File photo
It was on Jan. 15 (Friday), when the BI issued a press release on the new travel restrictions. The government agency is the one tasked to implement resolutions of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) that expanded the travel ban on former Filipino citizens, their non-Filipino citizen children/descendants and spouses, as well as non-Filipinos from 35 countries.
The other 34 countries, aside from the UAE, the Duterte Administration through the IATF, had imposed a restricted entry policy/travel ban are UK, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong SAR, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, US, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, China, and Hungary.
In the Jan. 15 BI press release, Commissioner Jaime Morente said the agency had received an order from Malacanang (Presidential Palace/Office of the President) and the IATF regarding the expansion of the travel restrictions.
He said: “We expect further decrease in the number of travellers in the coming weeks due to the new variants of COVID-19. We shall continue implementing existing protocol on arriving Filipinos. We are implementing strict social distancing measures at the immigration areas to ensure that contact is minimised during travel.”
Meanwhile, over in Sharjah on Friday evening, Edgar Orines, scheduled to fly home on Jan. 22 (Friday) for his annual break and for business, said he was given the heads up on the 14-day quarantine. He is looking forward to his much-needed rest with his wife and daughter.
In a statement, the Ministry affirmed its aim to expand the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
The infected individuals are from various nationalities, are in a stable condition, and receiving the necessary care, Ministry added. MoHAP also announced 3 deaths due to COVID-19 complications, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 1,529.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Wednesday that its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
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