The Philippines has expanded its list of foreign nationals allowed to enter the country beginning May 1, an official said Monday.
Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said foreign nationals who hold valid and existing immigrant and non-immigrant visas such as students, workers, and residents are allowed to return to the Philippines.
Those with travel history to India within 14 days remain barred from entering the country, she added.
Foreigners qualified to enter the country must have a pre-booked accommodation for at least 7 nights and they must be tested for COVID-19 on the sixth day of quarantine, Sandoval said, adding the country’s limit of 1,500 daily arrivals remains.
In related developments, the Department of Health said the B.1.617 coronavirus variant first discovered in India had not yet been detected in the Philippines.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said no local B.1.617 variant cases were found in a reevaluation of all samples that have been subjected to genome sequencing.
“That’s why we are trying to strengthen our border control implementation so we can avoid its entry,” said Vergeire during an online briefing.
The Philippines imposed a temporary ban – April 29 to May 14 – on travelers from India, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Vergeire said: “Some travelers who passed through India or came from there are currently quarantined so we are monitoring them.
“Once one of them tests positive we are going to subject this to the whole genome sequencing process.”