The Philippine government has once again extended travel restrictions on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman until July 15, citing concerns over the Delta COVID-19 variant.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, June 29, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said restrictions on the seven countries would continue to be imposed as part of efforts to ensure “strict border control” and prevent cases of the Delta variant from entering and spreading in the Philippines.
The Department of Health earlier cited the necessity of strictly following quarantine protocols at the nation's borders as part of measures to protect public health and the country’s health system from the variant.
Travel restrictions on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal have been in place since April 29, and May 15 for the UAE and Oman. They were supposed to last only until June 30, prior to the government’s latest decision.
Delta, the COVID-19 variant first detected in India, has fueled concern across nations where a rise in cases have been seen in recent weeks.
It was formerly called the Indian variant, and was later renamed by the WHO using the Greek alphabet, along with other variants, to prevent stigma.
The variant has gained attention and concern because of its worrying traits, including increased transmissibility, higher risk of hospitalization, and prolonged hospital stay. Experts have also expressed concern on the variant over its effect on vaccines if only one dose is received (though not two full doses).