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China not yet on travel restrictions list pending confirmation —Palace

Malacañang on Thursday explained why China is not yet included in the list of countries covered by travel restriction following media reports that the new coronavirus variant was detected in the East Asian nation.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the Philippines is awaiting official confirmation from reputable international agencies.

“Antayin po natin ang confirmation at kung mayroon naman pong confirmation ay isasali rin sila sa listahan. As of now wala pa pong confirmation,” he said at a news conference.

On January 1, China’s state-run broadcaster CGTN reported that the new variant was detected in a female student returning to China from the United Kingdom, where the variant was initially discovered, citing the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

The student was screened for COVID-19 in Shanghai on December 14, the report added.

The Philippines first imposed travel restrictions on the UK over the more infectious coronavirus variant on December 24. 

The list was soon expanded to include:

  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • Hong Kong
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • United States
  • Portugal
  • India
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Jordan
  • Brazil

Filipino citizens will be allowed to enter the Philippines as long as they undergo screening for COVID-19 and facility-based quarantine. The travel restrictions will last until January 15.

According to the Department of Health, the new variant has not yet been detected in the Philippines.

Hong Kong authorities, however, have reported that a passenger from the Philippines has been identified as having tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19. -MDM, GMA News