Czech Republic now part of expanded travel ban

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THE government has barred foreign travelers from the Czech Republic from entering the Philippines from Jan. 28 until Jan. 31, Malacañang said following detection of  the UK COVID-19 variant in the European country.

“Relative to the detection of the UK variant, the Office of the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, prohibits the entry to the Philippines of foreign passengers coming from or who have been to the Czech Republic within fourteen (14) days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines effective January 28, 2021, 12:01 AM, Manila time until January 31, 2021,” Presidential spokesperson Roque said in a statement.

The expanded travel ban on foreign passengers traveling from or who’ve been to the Czech Republic within 14 days before their arrival in the Philippines before Jan. 28 allows them to enter the country.

“However, they shall be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result,” Roque said.

Filipinos who are also traveling from or who’ve been to the Czech Republic within 14 days before arriving in the Philippines, whether before or after Jan. 28, will be able to enter the country. They are still, however, required to undergo a 14-day isolation.

“It is underscored that passengers who are allowed entry to the Philippines need to undergo RT-PCR test upon their arrival. They have to be quarantined until the result of a subsequent RT-PCR test, which is administered on the fifth day of the quarantine is released,” Roque said.

“Those who tested negative from both RT-PCR tests will be endorsed to their respective local government units, which will strictly monitor the remainder of their 14-day quarantine.”

However, Roque said Filipinos and foreigners merely transiting through Czech Republic to the Philippines will not be considered as having come from or having been to the European country, as long as they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by Czech immigration authorities.

Scientists have said the UK variant of the coronavirus that is behind a surge in COVID-19 infections in UK may be not only more transmissible, but also more lethal – with a mortality risk around 30 percent higher than other variants.

Known as B.1.1.7, the variant is also up to 70 percent more contagious than other coronavirus variants circulating in the UK and has already been detected across the world. US health officials said it could become the dominant variant there by March.

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