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Philippines to accept fully vaccinated tourists from Feb. 10

Country opens borders to boost economy as it battles omicron spread

Tourists at White Beach on Boracay Island, Aklan province, Philippines, on Nov. 30, 2021.   © Reuters

MANILA -- The Philippines on Friday said it would start accepting fully vaccinated tourists from Feb. 10, as the country seeks to accelerate economic recovery from the pandemic.

Foreign leisure travelers will not have to quarantine, the Department of Tourism said. But the visitors, from one of more than 150 countries that don't need visas to enter the Philippines, must present a negative result from a RT-PCR coronavirus test taken prior to departure from point of origin.

The move is aimed at restoring tourism-related jobs and businesses that were shut down during the pandemic. The Philippines had planned to reopen its borders to foreign tourists in December but the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant prompted the government to suspend the plan.

The country has battled record coronavirus cases this month, but the daily infection tally had fallen to around 18,600 cases on Friday after peaking at more than 39,000 in mid-January. Officials said most cases are mild.

"We are also aware that there is no room for complacency given the unpredictability of the virus. We will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented in all tourism establishments," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

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