MANILA – The Philippines has extended the travel ban for travelers from India and six other countries until July 15 to prevent the possible entry of the Delta coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.
The extended travel ban covers India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
“Isa itong proactive measure sa patuloy na pagpapatupad ng international border control dahil sa Covid-19 Delta variant (This is a proactive measure amid the implementation of international border control because of Covid-19 Delta variant),” Roque said.
The announcement came a day before the travel restrictions are set to lapse.
Roque clarified that outbound passengers, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), are still allowed to go to India and six other countries where the travel ban was extended.
“Merong din pong mga OFWs na papunta siguro sa ilang lugar diyan. Hindi naman po sila pinagbabawalan pero pinag-iingat lang po (There are OFWs who will also go to some places there. They are not prohibited but they should be careful),” he said.
On June 20, Malacañang said Filipinos in countries covered by temporary travel ban will still be allowed to return home, so long as they are covered by the government’s repatriation efforts.
This is the fourth time the country has extended travel restrictions on India and the six other countries.
The travel ban on India was first imposed from April 29 to May 15.
The Philippine government later decided to expand the travel restrictions by including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, and UAE.
The Philippines has so far reported a total of 17 Delta cases which originated in India.
The country initially detected 13 cases of Delta Covid-19 variant, all involving returning Filipino travelers. The four new cases are also returning Filipinos.
Delta coronavirus variant is found to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant and apparently behind the surge in cases in other countries, according to reports.
Dr. Alethea de Guzman, officer-in-charge director of the Department of Health’s epidemiology bureau, noted that a person who contracts the Delta variant can infect five to eight people. (PNA)