The Philippine government has extended restrictions on travelers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman up to June 30, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced.
In a statement on Sunday, June 20, 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 COVID-19 Delta variant from spreading in the Philippines.
Roque cited the experience of other countries where the Delta variant had been shown to be more transmissible.
“There is a need for continued vigilance,” he said.
Roque said returning Filipinos covered by repatriation programs of both the government and their respecting manning or recruitment agencies, which were cleared by the Bureau of Quarantine, will still be able to enter the Philippines.
“They can enter the country, subject to testing and quarantine protocols,” Roque said.
The current national policy mandates a 10-day facility quarantine and swabbing on the seventh day from arrival. Returning Filipinos also need to complete four more days of quarantine in their homes after leaving the facilities.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvaña, an adviser to the government task force, cited the necessity of following quarantine protocols in light of the Delta variant.
The Delta variant, which is believed to be driving the case surge in India and is now becoming the dominant variant among new cases in the United Kingdom, is already 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant and is believed to be somewhat more resistant to vaccines after just one dose.
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 up to June 15, prior to the government’s latest decision. – Rappler.com