Filipinos in HK can go home despite PH travel ban on 20 places

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Filipina domestic workers at the Hong Kong Airport on their way home to Manila. (FILE: DFA/dfa.gov.ph)

Filipino citizens in Hong Kong will still be able to return to the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to ban travelers from 20 countries and territories where more transmissible COVID-19 strains were detected.

A memorandum order issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Tuesday said Filipino arrivals will be exempt from the travel ban, but they will have to undergo 14-day quarantine in a facility.

Visitors from the following places, or who have been in the following areas in the last 14 days before heading to the Philippines, will be banned entry beginning Dec. 30 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • Hong Kong, SAR
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Spain

But if these travelers arrive before 12:01 a.m., they will still be allowed to enter the Philippines and must only undergo a two-week quarantine period.

This measure will be in effect until Jan. 15, 2021. The suspension of flights from the UK and the ban on foreign travelers from there will also be in place until the same date.

The memorandum also states that if other countries report the presence of a new COVID-19 variant, the President can restrict travelers from these countries upon recommendation from the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Manila International Airport Authority issued the list of countries included in the ban earlier this morning but retracted it, as these were reportedly based on recommendations from Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque and other officials.