Philippines lifts quarantine for fully vaccinated international travellers beginning from Saturday (Oct 16)

A health worker prepares to inoculate a child with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), during the vaccine rollout for children with comorbidities, in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 15, 2021. - Reuters

MANILA, Oct 15 (Bernama): The Philippines has lifted the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from China and over 40 other countries and regions with low number of Covid-19 infections, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday.

Roque said the new rule applying to travellers from China and other countries and regions included in a green list will take effect from Saturday until Oct 31, reported Xinhua.

For fully vaccinated foreign nationals, Roque said a negative RT-PCR swab test will be required to be taken within 72 hours before departure. Upon arrival, the traveller is no longer needed to stay in a quarantine facility, but the passenger is urged to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day, he said.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, and individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, Roque said they need to be isolated in a quarantine facility until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day.

Foreign tourists are still barred from entering the Philippines as part of the border measures when the government imposed lockdown restrictions in March 2020. Only those foreigners granted special visas, including diplomats, are allowed to enter.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will allow cinemas and gyms to reopen in the capital Manila, an official said Thursday (Oct 15), after a sharp fall in the daily number of coronavirus infections and increased vaccinations.

Restrictions have been eased in recent weeks as the government shifts its focus to getting people back to work and easing the economic misery caused by hard lockdowns.

"We must pay attention to job creation at this time," presidential spokesman Harry Roque told a news conference.

Cinemas and gyms, which have been closed for most of the pandemic, will be allowed to resume limited operations on Saturday for fully vaccinated people.

Maximum allowed capacities for restaurants, churches and beauty salons were raised to 30 per cent, as the metropolis was lowered to the third-highest alert level.

Nearly 80 per cent of the adult population in the capital has been fully vaccinated, compared with just over 30 per cent for the entire country, according to official data.

Nationwide virus cases hit a record high of 26,303 on September 11, fuelled by the hyper-contagious Delta variant, but for the past four days have fallen below 9,000. - Bernama

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