The Philippines has updated its quarantine and testing rules for persons arriving from abroad. One of the main features of the new rules is the requirement that travelers get a COVID-19 swab test 48 hours before their departure for the Philippines, instead of the previous 72-hour test requirement.
However, results of RT-PCR tests taken 72 hours before departure will still be honored until January 19, said Acting Presidential Spokesman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, explaining the new rules on Friday, January 14.
The country has also done away with completely barring travel from any particular country. Previously, such bans were imposed on “Red List” countries, or countries with critically-high transmissions or local transmission of a variant of concern. But in the new rules, travelers from “Red List” countries can now enter the Philippines but must abide by stricter quarantine and testing rules.
The system of categorizing countries into “Red,” “Yellow,” and “Green” remains but the length of quarantine periods and timing of testing has been changed for each category.
Nograles explained the rules during a Malacañang press briefing. They are officially laid out in Resolution No. 157 of the government’s pandemic task force.
The new protocol will apply mostly to Filipinos who are coming from other countries since the Philippines has still not opened its borders to foreigners with tourist visas. The only foreigners currently allowed to enter the country are diplomats, and those with special business or permanent resident visas.
On Friday, the Philippines imposed yet another requirement on the few foreigners allowed to enter: they must be fully-vaccinated. The only foreigners exempted from this rule are minors, persons who cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to health reasons as certified by a “competent public health authority” in the country of origin, and diplomats and their dependents – 9(e) visa holders.
Below are the updated rules.
Yellow List country
Fully-vaccinated: Negative result from RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before departure, quarantine upon arrival, and take RT-PCR test on 5th day (arrival day counts as day one). Release from quarantine facility once negative test result is received, home quarantine until 7th day.
Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, vaccination status cannot be validated: Negative result from RT-PCR test taken 48 hours before departure, quarantine upon arrival, and take RT-PCR test on 7th day (arrival day counts as day one). Release from quarantine facility once negative test result is received, home quarantine until 14th day.
Countries in Yellow List: All countries not in Red or Green Lists