Philippines extends travel ban on India, 9 other nations due to Delta variant
The Philippine government on Friday extended travel restrictions for people coming from India and nine other countries till August 15 in order to monitor the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) amid a spike in daily infections. The nine countries include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The Philippines had earlier imposed the travel ban on India on April 29 which was extended. On July 14, the government further extended the travel ban on India along with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the UAE, and Oman till July 31, according to news agency PTI.
Harry Roque, the Presidential spokesperson for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, said on Friday the current travel ban will be in place from August 1 till August 15. The orders came after President Duterte expressed concerns over the Delta variant, according to a report by Manila Times
The Philippines has so far reported 216 cases of the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India in October 2020. However, experts pointed out there might be more unidentified cases due to the sluggish pace of the country’s genome sequencing capacity, PTI reported. Two weeks back, the country reported its first locally transmitted cases of the variant.
The government on Friday also imposed a lockdown in the Manila capital region from August 6-20 to curb the spread of the Delta variant. The capital region covers 16 cities and is home to over 13 million people. “While it is a painful decision, this is for the good of all,” Presidential spokesperson Roque was quoted as saying by Reuters.
As per the lockdown rules, people will not be allowed to step outdoors except for shopping for essential items. Dining in at restaurants will be banned and only take out and home deliveries will be permitted. Mass gatherings have also been banned by the government.
The Philippines has till now recorded 1,580,824 cases and 27,722 deaths due to the coronavirus disease. On Friday, the country saw 8,562 new cases, the highest single day spike in two months.
Amid the spread of the Delta variant, President Duterte urged those citizens who do not want to be vaccinated to stay at home as they are a “walking spreader”. “If you go out, I will tell the police to escort you back to your house because you are a walking spreader,” he added, according to the Manila Times report.
(With agency inputs)