PH includes China, 4 other countries in travel ban due to new COVID variant
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has included China, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and Oman on the coverage of the temporary travel ban on foreign travelers due to the new COVID-19 variant, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Foreign passengers arriving directly from the said countries, as well as those who have been there within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, will be restricted from entering the country starting 12 noon on Jan. 13, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Filipinos from these countries will be allowed to enter the country but they need to undergo an absolute 14-day quarantine even if they obtain a negative RT-PCR test result.
The travel ban will last until Jan. 15.
Earlier, the Philippines imposed a travel ban on several countries where the new COVID-19 variant—first recorded in the United Kingdom and believed to be more infectious—was recorded. These countries are:
- United Kingdom
- United States
- The Netherlands
- Hong Kong, SAR
- South Korea
- South Africa
The government also imposed a travel ban on Austria due to the threat of another COVID-19 variant that was first reported in South Africa.
The travel ban on these countries may be extended or lifted depending on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, Roque said.
Experts said both the South African and UK variants are associated with a higher viral load, meaning a greater concentration of virus particles in patients’ bodies, possibly contributing to increased transmission.
The two new variants have yet to be detected in the Philippines. However, Hong Kong recently announced that a passenger from Manila tested positive for the UK variant.
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