PH adds China, four other countries in expanded travel ban

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 12) — The government on Tuesday included China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and Oman in the list of areas with travel restrictions due to the presence of a new COVID-19 variant believed to be more contagious.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said foreign nationals from these countries will not be allowed to enter the Philippines from noon of Jan. 13 to 15. Filipinos from these areas can come home, but they need to complete the 14-day facility-based quarantine regardless of a negative swab test result.

Following reports of new COVID-19 variants, the Philippines first suspended all flights from the United Kingdom beginning December 24, then later expanded the list.

With the addition of the five countries, the ban now covers 33 jurisdictions, also including Austria, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, and Brazil.

The travel restrictions will last until January 15, but the government's COVID-19 task force will discuss if it needs to be extended. There are no restrictions on outbound travel, but that would depend on the rules of country destinations.

Philippine researchers did not detect the presence of the new COVID-19 variants in the country based on samples taken in November and December.