COVID-19

Philippines bars entry of travelers from Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

Pia Ranada

UNCERTAINTY. Sudden travel restrictions define international travel in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

File photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

The government imposes more restrictions to prevent the entry of the COVID-19 variant detected in India, which shares borders with these countries

In a new bid to prevent the entry of the B1617 variant of COVID-19 first reported in India, the Philippines is barring the entry of travelers coming from Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh from May 7 to 14.

This was formalized in a memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed on Wednesday, May 5.

“All passengers coming from or who have been to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines shall be prohibited from entering the country effective 0001H of 07 May 2021 Manila time until 2359H 14 May 2021,” the memo read.

May 14 is also the date when the Philippines’ travel ban on passengers from India will end, unless it is extended by the government.

Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are all countries that are very near or adjacent to India, which is currently dealing with record-breaking COVID-19 transmissions and an overwhelmed healthcare system.

Persons from the countries listed above who are set to arrive in the Philippines before May 7 will still be allowed to enter but they must complete a 14-day quarantine in an accredited isolation facility.

All specimens from COVID-19 tests of persons who came from the countries listed above that turn positive for the virus will undergo whole genome sequencing to check if the virus they have contains the variant from India.

The close contacts of those with positive results are to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days. Their third generation contacts are to be traced by the government.

As in previous travel restrictions imposed by the Philippines, persons who merely transited through India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka aren’t covered by the travel ban and won’t need to complete a 14-day quarantine in a facility.

However, they still need to undergo the usual pandemic-time protocols like getting a COVID-19 swab test on the fifth day after their arrival and completing quarantine until the result comes out negative. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.