Flights from HK still allowed, NTF clarifies

The National Task Force against Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) clarified on Sunday that the decision to restrict arrivals from Hong Kong because of the Omicron variant is not yet final.

The panel said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has yet to come down with a decision on the matter.

The clarification was issued after NTF Spokesman Restituto Padilla Jr. said in a television interview that the government has decided to ban travelers from Hong Kong.

“Kasama na po ang Hong Kong, kung mayroon man tayong pahihintulutan tayong kababayan na umuwi, it may take a longer quarantine for them (Hong Kong is now included, if we will allow more Filipinos to fly home, they may have to undergo longer quarantine),” Padilla said in the interview.

The territory has two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, which is considered as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization.

In a statement, the NTF said that it will await the formal announcement from the IATF-EID pending the recommendations of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group.

“Until a formal announcement from the IATF is made, HK flights will still be allowed. We apologize for any inconvenience an earlier pronouncement may have caused,” the NTF said.

It added that the government, through the recommendations made by the DoH, will work to ensure adoption of measures to prevent or delay the entry of new variants.

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