Philippines opens borders to foreigners vaccinated against Covid-19

Bangkok, Jan 28 (EFE).- The Philippines announced Friday that foreigners vaccinated against Covid-19 from more than 150 countries would be allowed into the country from next month, after it closed its borders to foreigners and non-nationals two years ago due to the pandemic.

“Effective Feb. 10, 2022, nationals vaccinated with the complete dosage of countries without visa requirements (…) will be able to enter the Philippines,” presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said during a media appearance.

Foreigners from countries that do not need a visa to go to the Philippines, more than 150 including the United States, Chile, Colombia and members of the European Union, must also present a negative Covid-19 test.

Nograles said the mandatory vaccination will not apply to those under 18 and people with a medical exemption.

The Philippines planned to open its borders to vaccinated foreigners on Dec. 1, but had to suspend the measure due to the outbreak of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The government’s objective is to revive tourism, which in 2019 represented 11 percent of GDP and fell from 8.2 million foreign visitors that year to 1.48 million in 2020.

Authorities, who are still struggling to contain the latest wave, today registered 18,638 new infections and 68 deaths from Covid-19, with an occupation of 49 percent of intensive care beds.

The Philippines has registered more than 3.5 million cases, including more than 53,800 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

According to Our World in Data, Philippine authorities have vaccinated more than 52 percent of the population with the full schedule as they battle the latest wave of the pandemic caused by the omicron variant.

Despite the pandemic, the Philippine economy grew 5.6 percent last year, a recovery after falling 9.57 percent in 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported Thursday. EFE


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