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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Manila seeks clarification on HK’s lifting of travel ban

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The Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday vowed to clarify with Hong Kong authorities about certain rules governing the lifting of the travel ban on overseas Filipino workers who are willing to return to work in the special administrative region. “Initial report seems to confirm this (lifting of travel ban) but there are still conditions needing clarification,” DFA Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Eduardo Meñez said.

The DFA official cited, in particular, the requirement of Hong Kong authorities for returning OFWs to present a recognized vaccination card.

According to him, the DA will inquire whether the yellow card or the vaccination passport being issued by the Department of Health’s Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) will be recognized in Hong Kong.

Reports indicated that Hong Kong is ready to lift the travel ban for the nearly 3,000 OFWs currently stranded in the Philippines who wish to return to work there provided they are fully vaccinated.

“HK authorities are looking for a recognized vaccination card – still being determined if the BOQ issued yellow vaccination card will be recognized by HK authorities, so nothing clear yet,” Meñez stressed.

Meñez also said there is also need to clarify with Hong Kong authorities the length of quarantine period required for OFWs. Hong Kong still requires a 14-day quarantine even for fully vaccinated workers upon arrival in the special administrative region.

But Meñez said it appears that there will still be a 21-day quarantine period upon checking at the HK airport webpage. 

Of the estimated 220,000 OFWs who are currently in Hong Kong, only less than 50 percent of them had been vaccinated. 

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