The government pandemic task force is studying the possibility of reopening the country’s borders to visitors from countries with low to medium coronavirus transmission as well as applying the principle of reciprocity, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. 

NOGRALES - Gov’t eyes reopening PH borders to international travelers
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The task force must also look into whether the country’s healthcare capacity will be adequate should the country eases travel restrictions to foreign visitors, Nograles added.

“Ngayon ‘yung non-essential na tinatawag na inbound, ito po ay pinag-aaralan pa po kasi gaya ng sinabi ko, step-by-step process ito, kailangan mai-prepare po natin ang ground, kailangan muna nating alamin ‘yung ine-expect nating overseas Filipinos at kakayanin ba ng ating capacity, carrying capacity ng ating bansa at ng ating health care system. (On the non-essential inbound, this is being studied. As I said, it is a step-by-step process. We must be prepared on the ground. We need to know the number of expected overseas Filipinos and if our country’s carrying capacity and health care system can handle it),” Nograles said over state television Wednesday.

“Pangalawa, tinitingnan din po natin ang low-medium transmission countries (Second, we will look into the low-medium transmission countries),” he said.

According to Nograles, the “factor of reciprocity” for countries that have allowed Filipino travelers is also being studied by the task force.

“Kasi may mga ibang bansa na tumatanggap ng mga mula sa Pilipinas so tinitingnan din natin yung option ng reciprocity (Because there are other countries that accept visitors from the Philippines so we will look into the option of reciprocity),” he said.

“Kung sila ay tumatanggap ng mga Pinoy at Pinay, baka kung low transmission din naman po sila, baka tayo rin po ay papayag na tumanggap muli ng mula rin sa bansa nila as reciprocity. (If they are accept Filipinos, if they have low transmission, maybe we can agree to accept again visitors from these countries as reciprocity.),” he said.

Nograles earlier said the IATF has started to study on whether to not to lift the entry restrictions for foreign visitors following the government’s decision to allow non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos this week.

Foreign visitors have been restricted from entering the country since March as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak. 

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