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The Philippines reopens to fully vaccinated, COVID-negative foreign travellers after two years

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The Philippines reopens to fully vaccinated COVID negative foreign travellers after two years

The Philippines has lifted an almost two-year restriction on foreign travellers in a lifesaving help for its tourism and related industries as its Omicron-fuelled COVID-19 surge facilitates.

From today, foreign travellers from 157 nations that have without visa arrangements with the Philippines – who have been fully vaccinated and have tested negative for the virus – will be invited back and will at this point not be expected to quarantine upon arrival.

The Philippines government additionally finished a risk classification system that prohibited travellers from the most awful hit countries.

“We will begin the next chapter in the road to recovery,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said.

She added that the border reopening would restore jobs and create revenue across the tourism-related enterprises and communities.

The Philippines forced one of the world’s longest lockdowns and strictest, police-enforced quarantine limitations to subdue a pandemic that caused its most awful economic downturn since the 1940s and pushed unemployment and hunger to record levels.

Above a million Filipinos lost their jobs in tourism businesses and destinations in the first year of the pandemic alone, as per government insights.

Tourism destinations, including famous beach and tropical island resorts, resembled ghost towns at the stature of pandemic lockdowns, and a volcanic eruption and typhoons exacerbated losses.

Reopening delayed

The resuming had been set for December 1 yet was deferred as the exceptionally infectious COVID-19’s Omicron variant spread.

Under 1,000 new cases were added daily during the Christmas holidays, when huge crowds of customers marched back to shopping centers and restaurants, notwithstanding steady government warnings.

The resulting surge topped over 39,000 diseases in a single day in mid-January, however has since been facilitated.

Health authorities detailed around 3,600 diseases on Wednesday, with 69 deaths, and have announced the whole archipelago, aside from one southern region, at “low to moderate risk”.

More than 60 million of almost 110 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 8.2 million have accepted their booster shots in a campaign that has been hampered by vaccine shortages and public hesitancy.

President Rodrigo Duterte cautioned Filipinos in televised comments on Monday that “we are not over the hump” and asked the unvaccinated to get inoculated soon.

“If you’re unvaccinated and you die, well, I’ll tell you, ‘Good riddance’,” the tough-talking president said.

“You can walk around and, if you get contaminated, you will be awfully very, very sorry for yourself and your family.”

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