Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr, in a press briefing on January 12, announced the addition of five more jurisdictions in the list of countries that will be subject to travel restrictions due to the detected new variants of COVID-19.varia
“Kasama na po ang People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and Oman sa mga bansa na meron pong bagong COVID-19 variant at ipinagbabawal po ang pagpasok ng mga dayuhan galing sa mga bansang ito na galing po doon sa mga lugar na iyon, effective January 13, 2021 at noon (12:01 pm) until January 15, 2021 subject po to further recommendations of the IATF,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace official, who serves as concurrent Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Spokesperson, said that the travel restriction was jointly recommended by the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“Filipinos coming from these territories can still come home but subject to the absolute 14-day quarantine kahit ano man po ang resulta ng kanilang PCR test,” Secretary Roque stressed.
Foreign passengers who will arrive in the Philippines before 12:01P.M. of January 13 from the said countries or have been to the said jurisdictions within 14 days prior to arrival in the country, will be allowed to enter the Philippines. However, these foreign nationals will be required to undergo an absolute 14-day facility-based quarantine period even with a negative RT-PCR test result.
Transiting passengers from the aforementioned countries will be covered by the existing rules on passengers transiting in jurisdictions with travel restrictions.
On the matter of vaccine procurement by local government units (LGUs), the Palace spokesman underscored that LGUs will be able to do so through a multilateral agreement for the advance purchase of vaccines. This multilateral agreement is entered into by the Department of Health, AstraZeneca, and the LGUs, said Sec. Roque.
Sec. Roque explained that under this agreement, and with the offer of the LGUs to secure vaccines for their constituents, the LGU will be the one to pay for the vaccines that they will be getting from AstraZeneca.
“Pursuant to this multilateral agreement, yung LGU mismo ang magkakaroon ng budget para bumili sa Astrazeneca. Malinaw po yan. Hindi naman po national government ang bumibili kundi ang mga lokal na pamahalaan,” said Roque.
Secretary Roque further stressed that aside from LGUs paying for the vaccines, it will also be the LGUs responsibility to send the payment to the manufacturer, including the cost associated with delivery, distribution, storage, among others.
Lastly, Roque added that the LGUs will ensure that they have their own development and implementation of a local vaccination plan that is aligned with the National Development and Vaccination Plan.
In the same press briefing, Department of Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed that any vaccine that has been granted approval or receives an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration is on equal footing with other vaccines in terms of safety and efficacy.
Meanwhile, Foundation for Vaccination Executive Director Dr. Lulu Bravo underscored the need to listen to true experts on vaccination when it comes to a vaccine’s safety and efficacy. On possible adverse effects of vaccines and what will the government’s protocol be, Dr. Bravo pointed out that an adverse events protocol on vaccines is already in place, including a group of vaccine experts that make up the National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee. ### OPS-PCOO