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By Prince Golez

To stem the transmission of a coronavirus (Covid-19) variant, people coming from Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan and Brazil will be banned from entering the Philippines starting January 8, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

“The Office of the President, upon the joint recommendation of the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs, included Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil as among the countries/jurisdictions subject to travel restrictions,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

The travel ban will last until January 15.

Roque said foreign passengers coming from, or who have been to the abovementioned nations within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, arriving before January 8, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines.

They must however undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result, he added.

On one hand, Filipino citizens coming from, or who have been to Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, and Brazil, including those arriving after January 8, shall be allowed to enter the Philippines provided that they undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period.

Those merely transiting through the abovementioned countries shall be covered by the rules as provided in the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated December 31, 2020.

Roque said the Office of the President also provided the following rules on incoming unaccompanied minor Filipino passengers:

-Effective January 8, all unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens coming from countries/jurisdictions where travel restrictions are in place on account of the new variant of Covid-19, shall not be allowed entry until January 15, except minors returning through the repatriation program of the national government.

These repatriated minors shall be turned over to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration house parent who, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), shall ensure the minors’ safety and their observance of quarantine protocols.

-All unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens who are not part of the repatriation program of the national government, arriving before January 8, shall be turned over to an authorized DSWD officer who can ensure the minors’ safety and their observance to quarantine protocols.

Earlier, the government banned travelers from 20 countries because of a new Covid-19 strain spreading in the United Kingdom (UK).

These include the UK, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Israel, Netherlands, Canada, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Lebanon, Sweden, and South Korea.

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