The Philippines has extended the travel ban on travelers from India and nine other countries until August 15 to prevent the further spread of the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019, Malacañang said yesterday.
President Rodrigo Duterte, upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, decided to continue prohibiting the entry of travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“President Duterte approved the recommendation of the IATF to extend the travel restrictions currently imposed on 10 countries starting August 1 until August 15,” Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said in a press statement.
The decision came amid the upward trend in Delta variant cases in the country.
As of July 29, an additional 97 Delta variant cases were reported in the Philippines, bringing the country’s total case count of the more infectious coronavirus to 216.
About 88 of the 97 new Delta variant cases were local cases, six were returning overseas Filipinos, and three others were still being verified.
Of the 97 new cases, 94 have been tagged as recovered and three were fatalities.
The Delta variant, that was first detected in India, is driving new outbreaks across the Asia-Pacific region, including Southeast Asia.
It is found to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant.
Medical experts have noted that a person who catches the Delta variant can infect five to eight people.
The Philippines has also released an updated roster of “green” countries and jurisdictions classified as “low-risk” for Covid-19.
The number of countries and jurisdictions where the “green lane” policy for fully vaccinated travelers will be implemented has been reduced to 51 from 57, Roque said.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Poland, and Slovakia have been added to the revised list.
On the other hand, Barbados, The British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Curacao, Eswatini, French Polynesia, Greenland, Iceland, Isle of Man, Israel, Liechtenstein, Malta, Mauritius, South Korea, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Vietnam have been removed from the list of “green” countries and jurisdictions.
The new list, Roque said, was approved by the IATF-EID Thursday.*PNA