China not on travel restriction list: Palace

China is not on the Philippines’ list of nations covered by a temporary travel ban to curb the spread of the new strain of coronavirus because international agencies have yet to confirm that it has indeed entered the East Asian country, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the government on Wednesday added six more countries to the list of nations barred from entering the Philippines — Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil.

These countries joined United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, SAR, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, and Spain which were barred entry late last month.

“Hindi pa po iyan nari-report ng mga international agencies na kumpirmado. Ang alam lang po natin ay media reports (International agencies have not yet confirmed these reports. What we know are media reports),” he said in a Palace briefing.

Roque assured that once international agencies confirm that the new coronavirus strain indeed entered China, the Philippines will update its travel ban list.

“So antayin po natin iyong confirmation; at kung mayroon naman pong confirmation, siyempre isasali rin sila sa listahan (Let’s wait for a confirmation and when there’s a confirmation, we will include China on the list). As of now, wala pa pong (there’s no) confirmation,” he added.

Currently, foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the said countries/jurisdictions within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, will be prohibited from entering the country from Jan. 8, 12:01 a.m., Manila time, to Jan. 15.

Foreign passengers coming from, or who have been to the countries/jurisdictions within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, arriving before Jan. 8, 2021, 12:01 a.m., Manila time, will be allowed to enter the Philippines.

However, they will be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine, even if they obtain a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result.

Filipino citizens coming from, or who have been to the countries/jurisdictions, within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those arriving after Jan. 8, 12:01 a.m., Manila time, will be allowed to enter the Philippines.

They will be required though to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine, even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result.

Filipino and foreign passengers transiting through the countries/jurisdictions will be covered by the rules as provided in the memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated Dec. 31, 2020.

Reports showed that China has been hit by the new variant of the virus which emerged in the UK.

The infected person, a 23-year-old woman, had returned from the UK on Dec. 14, 2020, days before China banned all flight operations to and from Britain.

China is among the countries that have banned flights to the UK since the new variant was detected.

Experts said the new strain of virus is nearly 70 percent more transmissible than the original Covid-19.

Source: Philippines News agency

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