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IATF suspends lifting ban on non-essential outbound overseas travel

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing personal protective equipment for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) queue at the check-in counters of Emirates airline, in Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) suspended lifting the suspension on non-essential overseas travels amidst the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Through IATF resolution no. 52, the national government allowed non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos but subject to certain conditions including:

  • Submission of confirmed round-trip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas;
  • Adequate travel and health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses if stranded, and hospitalization in case of infection, in such amount as may be determined by the Department of Tourism;
  • Allowed entry by the destination country in accordance with their travel, health and quarantine restrictions;
  • Execution of a Declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling, including the risk of delay in their return trip, to be provided for the check-in counters by the airlines; and
  • Upon return, shall follow the Guidelines of Returning Overseas Filipinos of the National Task Force.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday, July 23, that only one insurance company agreed to provide the travel and health insurance package required by the IATF resolution.

Isa sa mga kondisyon doon ay ang pagkakaroon ng travel at health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses if stranded at hospitalization kung sakaling may impeksiyon,” Roque said during a virtual press briefing.

Ang malungkot na balita, iisang insurance company lamang sa Pilipinas ang pumayag ng ganitong travel at health insurance kaya sinuspinde muna ng IATF ang non-essential outbound travel,“he added.

Roque assured that passengers with confirmed bookings as of Monday, July 20, will be allowed to fly out of the Philippines.

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