By Wilnard Bacelonia

CLEAR POLICYUndated photo of arriving passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday (Jan. 3, 2023) urged concerned government agencies to craft a clear policy to be imposed on travelers arriving from China, which currently suffers a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases. (PNA file photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday urged concerned government agencies to craft a clear policy to be imposed on travelers arriving from China, which currently suffers a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Poe said the national government should anticipate another pressing issue on the need for Covid-19 testing requirements for all travelers arriving from China ahead of the expected lifting of Chinese travel restrictions on Jan. 8.

She noted that other countries have announced that they are planning or have already started to implement stricter Covid-19 health protocols.

“Other countries like the US, UK, France, Canada, Japan, South Korea, India, Israel, Morocco, Italy and Spain have all reimposed their mandatory Covid tests and other rules on arrivals from China. The PH government should decide definitively on the matter and inform all travelers beforehand,” Poe said.

The country’s experience in the past three years, she reminded, has shown that delayed and uninformed Covid-related policies are sometimes deadlier than the pandemic itself.

“Now that we have reopened again, we need to build confidence that the Philippines is well-positioned and, hopefully, now better informed in the fight against Covid-19,” Poe added.

The United States recently announced that it would impose mandatory Covid-19 tests on travelers from China beginning on January 5 and require air passengers aged two and older a negative test result no more than two days before departure from China, Hong Kong, or Macau.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also urged American citizens to reconsider traveling to these areas.

The Japanese government also announced that it would require a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival for travelers from mainland China.

Those who test positive will be required to quarantine for seven days.

After implementing new border measures for China last Dec. 30, the Japanese government also plans to limit the requests from airlines to increase flights to China.

Set to leave for a state visit to China, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. would be unable to meet the Filipino community due to the Covid-19 situation. (PNA)