Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government is looking to see if there’s a need to implement a travel ban on Hong Kong as the country just entered its fifth Covid-19 wave due to the Omicron variant. 

“Titignan natin kasi ang nakakatakot sa Hong Kong, ‘yung maraming hindi bakunadong mga seniors, parang 30% lang, kaya makikita mo ‘yung pasyente andon na sa labas,” Duque said via interview with dzBB.

Duque noted that Hong Kong is facing a problem with their senior citizens who didn’t get the Covid-19 vaccine. 

“Mas malaki ang problema nila sa seniors kesa dito sa atin. Doon talaga, ayaw magpabakuna, kakaunti ang nagpapabakuna. Siguro 90% diyan puro seniors ang na-ospital,” he added.

Some OFWs in Hong Kong who contracted the Covid-19 virus were among the locals forced to wait outside hospitals since the said medical facilities are already at their full capacity.

The Philippines, on the other hand, has already opened its borders for business and leisure travelers since February 10—two years after the pandemic started.

However, only fully vaccinated foreigners were allowed to enter, subject to the submission of mandated requirements set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Sa atin naman, pagka-vaccinated naman, ‘yun pa rin ‘yung panuntunan. ‘Yun pa rin ‘yung protocol natin ‘di ba—pre-departure test within 48 hours. Tapos pag negative naman, pasasakayin naman ‘yan ng eroplano manggagaling doon sa kung anumang bansang panggagalingan nila,” Duque said.

“Kung walang test, hindi naman makakapasok. Pero kung tested pero unvaccinated, ay kailangan mag-quarantine pa rin,” he added. Ronald Espartinez