On Tuesday, July 7, the government of the Philippines announced that non-essential travel abroad can resume with immediate effect, under certain conditions imposed to ensure traveler's safety. A ban on non-essential travel overseas was imposed on March 17 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, all outbound travel restrictions have now been removed. Those traveling abroad must observe any restrictions in place at their final destination and will have to undergo a COVID-19 test and a mandatory quarantine period on return to the Philippines. They will also be required to submit confirmation of tickets, visas, and health insurance prior to travel, as well as signing a declaration form. Along with the easing of restrictions, a terminal at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila is set to reopen on Wednesday, July 8. The Philippines has yet to open to inbound tourism, with only returning Filipino nationals, their families, and foreign diplomats among the few permitted to enter the country.
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte announced on June 30, that the lockdown in Cebu City would be extended until July 15, amid the rise in COVID-19 infections. The lockdown was extended following the advice from the health secretary, Francisco Duque III, after Cebu City was announced the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Additionally, Duterte further announced on July 1, that the general community quarantine (GCQ) has been extended by one month in Metro Manilla due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. The extension is expected to end on July 31. Metro Manila has joined a number of areas in Luzon and Visayas that are currently under the GCQ.
As of July 7, health authorities have confirmed 47,873 COVID-19 cases and 1309 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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