On March 16, 2021 The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases released a memorandum circular temporarily suspending the travel into the Philippines of Foreigners and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who are non-overseas Filipino workers (non-OFWSs).
This includes any Filipino who is not a Philippine national or dual citizen and those under the Balikbayan program.
On March 15, 2021, the Philippines recorded 5,404 new COIVD positive cases, which is the highest report of positive cases in the last 6 months. Unfortunately, the transmission of the virus has spread due to noncompliance to public safety measures which includes public gatherings, the movements of persons and the delay of detection and isolation of infected patients.
In addition, a new Philippine variant of the COVID virus has been detected and a press release was issued by the DOH which was issued on March 13. Also included in the report was 59 new positive cases for UK Variant, 32 cases of the South African variant and 1 case of the Brazilian case.
To contain and control the emerging cases, all agencies were directed to limit the number of inbound international passengers/ arrivals to only 1,500 a day and to temporarily suspend the entry of Foreign nationals and returning overseas Filipinos who are not OFWs. All Airlines have been closely monitoring the situation and are currently adjusting their flight schedules to adhere to the mandate.
This mandate will begin on March 20th and will be upheld until April 19th, 2021.
Exclusions of the mandate are:
- Holders of 9(c) visas
- Medical repatriations and their escorts duly endorsed by the DFA-Office if the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs
- Distressed returning Overseas Filipinos duly endorsed by the DFA
- AND Emergency, humanitarian and other similar cases approved by the NTF-COVID 19
The Consulate General has advised that there may be more upcoming updates regarding the suspension for Philippine nationals. Although the mandate has been imposed, there are concerns about the legality of not allowing Philippine citizens to enter the country.
Information continues to evolve, and I will continue to share credible information once verified and confirmed.
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