Philippines to Welcome in Fully Vaccinated Foreign Visitors Next Month

Jojo Riñoza
2022.01.28
Manila
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Philippines to Welcome in Fully Vaccinated Foreign Visitors Next Month Tourists jump from a cliff along a beach on the coast of Bani in Pangasinan province, Northern Philippines, Feb. 29, 2020.
Jojo Riñoza/BenarNews

Foreigners who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the Philippines beginning Feb. 10, the government announced Friday.

Manila has been touting the gradual reopening of the economy amid a new wave of coronavirus infections, and Friday’s decision came on the back of strong lobbying from the tourism sector. 

The decision, approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, allows foreigners to enter the country if they can show proof of vaccination. They must agree to additional safety protocols while in the Philippines.

“The department sees this as a welcome development that will contribute significantly to job restoration, primarily in tourism-dependent communities, and in the reopening of businesses that have earlier shut down during the pandemic,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said. 

She has been pushing to reopen the tourist spots since December, but delayed those efforts because of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“We are also aware that there is no room for complacency given the unpredictability of the virus. We will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented in all tourism establishments,” Romulo-Puyat said.

The announcement came a day after officials announced that the Philippine economy grew by 5.6 percent last year after a steep recession in 2020 caused by ripple effects during the first year of the viral outbreak.

Exemptions

Signed on Thursday, the inter-agency’s resolution allows children and those who are not vaccinated for medical reasons to be exempt provided they can show certification from their doctors. Foreign diplomats and their dependents who are qualified visa holders are exempt as well.

Airlines are mandated to require that foreigners traveling to the country present proof of full vaccination before being allowed to board.

Meanwhile, the health department said COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 are to begin on Feb. 4, depending on the supply. The department sought to allay fears about pediatric vaccinations, citing U.S. studies showing they are safe. 

Officials have been trying to combat vaccine hesitancy here years after the government stopped administering a dengue shot after its French manufacturer said it could be harmful.

The shots, manufactured by Sanofi, were given to thousands of Filipino schoolchildren nationwide before being banned in 2017.

“Again, vaccines are safe and effective,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters. “The vaccination of our younger population will bring protection to the entire family.”

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Anonymous
Jan 30, 2022 08:15 AM

Are religious exemption from covid-19 excepted by the philippines

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