A more contagious strain of COVID-19 has been detected in a number of countries all over the world. This has resulted in lockdowns and closed borders of countries who are fearing the spread of this new COVID-19 variant.
However, in the Philippines, Filipinos who are working in countries that have recorded cases of this variant will still be allowed entry, says the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“They will be allowed to come home pero they have to be subjected to the 14-day quarantine. Kahit na pagdating nila, na swab na sila, negative sila, they still have to undergo the 14-day quarantine,” says Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment during a press conference.
According to Bello, this decision is in accordance with the President’s mandate to allow OFW to return to their families in the Philippines especially during the holidays.
Furthermore, those OFWs who already got vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine will still have to go through the mandatory quarantine as an added precaution.
Reports confirmed that the new variant of COVID-19 spreads more quickly and easily compared to the previous one. However, it is said that no evidence confirms that it causes severe illness or even more risk of death.
The said variant was first reported in London and the southeast of English last September 2020. Since then, numerous countries from all over the world started to detect the same variant including Canada and the United States.
The travel ban has already been imposed in the Philippines for travelers coming from the United Kingdom. Further countries were also placed on the banned list starting January 15 as approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). These countries are as follows;
- South Korea
- South Africa
- The Netherlands
- Hong Kong