MANILA – Travelers from India and nine other countries are still barred from entering the Philippines until the end of August, Malacañang announced Friday.
This, after President Rodrigo Duterte, upon the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), extended the travel restrictions imposed on travelers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to extend the current travel restrictions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia from August 16 to August 31, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
The extended travel ban came amid the threat posed by the more infectious Delta coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant that was first detected in India.
The Philippines has reported a total of 627 cases of Delta coronavirus variant, after logging an additional 177 cases of the highly transmissible Covid-19 variant.
Out of these new cases, 154 are local cases, three are returning overseas Filipinos, and 30 others are still being verified.
About 90 of the 144 local cases of Delta variant in the country have indicated address in Metro Manila, 25 have been in Calabarzon, 16 in Cagayan Valley, eight in Ilocos Region, two each in the Cordillera Administrative Region and Western Visayas, and one in Davao Region.
Duterte has decided to implement the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the most restrictive quarantine classification, in some areas, including Metro Manila, in an attempt to stop the further transmission of Delta variant in the country.
The Department of Health has said the effects of ECQ will take some time to be reflected in the case statistics and the upward trend in the number of cases can still be expected in the coming days.
The Delta variant, which drives new outbreaks in Southeast Asia including the Philippines, is found to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant and can infect five to eight people.
Resumption of int’l transit hub ops
Meantime, the IATF-EID has also approved the airlines’ request to resume international transit hub operations, Roque said.
“These international transit hub operations shall be limited to airside transfers between Terminals 1 and 2, and within Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and further limited for countries/jurisdictions/territories in the Green List,” Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said.
Roque said there must be a strict observance of protocols for the controlled movement of passengers and health and safety protocols within the terminals.
Any traveler who may exhibit symptoms should comply with isolation and quarantine protocols which should be for the account of the sponsoring airlines, Roque said.
“Having said this, the IATF directed the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Bureau of Quarantine, and the Bureau of Immigration to formulate the necessary protocols for the issuance of appropriate visas applicable on a case-to-case basis,” he said. (PNA)