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DOH: No need for tighter restrictions on travelers from China

by Jericho Zafra

AMID the renewed surge of COVID-19 cases in China, the Department of Health said there is no need for the Philippines to close its borders or tighten travel restrictions against travelers from this country.

“Based on the view of the Department of Health together with our experts, it is not timely, or we are not considering the closure of borders specific to the country or to have tighter restrictions for this country,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a briefing.

Vergeire pointed out that other countries have also experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases, but the government did not close the country’s borders or imposed tighter restrictions against travelers coming from these areas. 

Monitoring travelers

But while the DOH does not recommend the enforcement of new restrictions for inbound Chinese travelers, she said all arriving tourists would still be monitored.

She said authorities would still strengthen their surveillance, ensuring that all arriving passengers have their e-arrival cards and proof of vaccination.

Unvaccinated travelers are still required to provide a negative antigen test result, she said. 

DOTR suggestion

Earlier, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista brought up the idea of implementing mandatory COVID-19 testing for Chinese travelers as a precautionary measure.

Bautista noted that other countries, including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, are tightening their protocols for inbound passengers from China because of the surge of COVID-19 infections there. 

In response to a spike in the number of the reported cases, Japan, India, Malaysia, the United States, and Taiwan all announced that they will expand the regulations for travelers coming from China.

Recent reports said the number of COVID-19 cases in China has been rising at an alarming rate, with some estimating that it has reached at least one million a day.

This week, China announced that inbound tourists would no longer be required to undergo quarantine, effective January 8. This is the most relaxed restriction imposed by the government on the mainland, which has been mostly walled off from the rest of the world since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. 

Banner photo credit: NAIA-MIAA



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