DOH’s Vergeire says CDC’s travel advisory ‘aligned’ with Philippines'


Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday that the travel advisory released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after categorizing the Philippines as a Level 3 destination for a “high level” of COVID-19, is aligned with that of the country.

In a radio interview, Vergeire pointed out that CDC’s advice for travelers in making sure they were up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before going to the Philippines is already part of the country’s travel protocols.

“Hindi ho natin pinapapasok ang foreigners na walang bakuna dahil alam natin ang importansiya ng bakuna to prevent severe infections [We do not admit foreigners who are unvaccinated because we know the importance of vaccination to prevent severe infections],” she said.

“Aligned naman po [It is aligned with us]. It doesn’t have any difference at all for us,” she added.

Since February 10, 2022, the Philippines has been allowing entry of foreigners in the country for business and tourism purposes, under certain conditions.

Based on Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution 160-B, requirements for the foreign travelers going to the Philippines include:

  • full vaccination against COVID-19 and is in possession of an acceptable proof of vaccination, except only for minors below 12 years of age traveling with their fully-vaccinated foreign parent/s;
  • a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to the date and time of departure from the country of origin/first port of embarkation in a continuous travel to the Philippines, excluding lay-overs; provided, that, he/she has not left the airport premises or has not been admitted into another country during such lay-over;
  • valid tickets for their return journey to the port of origin or next port of destination not later than 30 days from date of arrival in the Philippines;
  • passports valid for a period of at least 6 months at the time of their arrival in the Philippines; and

  • travel insurance for COVID-19 treatment costs from reputable insurers, with a minimum coverage of $US 35,000.00 for the duration of their stay in the Philippines (obtained, prior to arrival).


Once admitted into the country, foreigners are also no longer required to observe facility-based quarantine but shall self-monitor for any sign or symptom for seven days with the first day being the date of arrival.

In tagging Philippines with a high level of COVID-19, the US CDC said those who were not up to date with their vaccine shots should avoid travel to the country.

It also said those who have weakened immune systems or are at increased risk for severe disease should talk to their doctors and consider delaying travel to the Philippines even if they were up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

This came after the US CDC observed that the Philippines had more than 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population over the past 28 days.

Vergeire thus reiterated that the Philippines is using different metrics from CDC in classifying COVID-19 risks, and that preserving the country’s healthcare system is of top priority.

“Ngayon, mas binibigyang pansin natin at importansiya ang ating [we are now paying more attention and giving more importance to our] healthcare system capacity. Although our numbers are increasing, our healthcare system is manageable at this point,” she said.

As of Tuesday, August 16, the bed occupancy in the country stood at 30%, while at least  8,681 beds were occupied and 20,276 were vacant.

A total of 2,633 new COVID-19 cases were also recorded on Tuesday, bringing the active caseload to 36,190 cases. —KG, GMA News