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More restricted travelers a quarantine nigthmare

ACCOMMODATING more in-coming overseas Filipino workers and other travelers from abroad is now a big problem.

According to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commander Edyson Abanilla, the quarantine facilities are now almost filled due to the influx of repatriated OFWs from 33 countries travel from which has been restricted by the government due to the new strain of COVID-19.

The arriving contract Filipinos who were from various parts of the world are from the 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, Spain, and the United States.

It was learned that some of the government Quarantine areas are now at full capacity, particularly in the New Clark City in Pampanga, Batangas and Tagaytay in Cavite.

Returning OFWs have the option to stay in their choice of hotel provided it is accredited by the Department of Tourism (DoT) and at their own expense.

5 more countries

The Brueau of Immigration (BI) announced that travel from five more countries will be banned except for Filipinos starting 12:01 pm yesterday.

In a statement, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said they received an order from Malacanang that foreign passengers coming from five more countries like Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, and the People’s Republic of China [PROC] shall not be allowed to enter the country.

In view of the expanded travel restrictions, foreigners coming from or have been to the five countries within 14 days from their arrival in the Philippines shall be excluded.

“Filipinos will still be allowed entry, subject to a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine, to be implemented by the airport’s one stop shop,” said Morente.

The added restrictions bring the total number of restricted countries to 33.

Earlier, the government imposed a ban on travelers from the 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, Spain, and the United States.

Later the ban included Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, and Austria.

“The travel restriction for aliens arriving from these countries will last until January 15, unless otherwise extended or expanded by Malacanang or the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases,” Morente said. By Willy M. Balasa