PH adds four more nations in travel ban list amid threat of ‘double-mutant’ virus variant
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has expanded its travel restrictions to Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh in a bid to prevent the entry of the “double-mutant” new coronavirus variant first detected in India, Malacañang said Wednesday.
In a memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the travel ban on passengers from these four countries will take effect starting Friday, May 7, until May 14.
Travelers from these nations arriving before May 7 are required to undergo an “absolute facility-based” 14-day quarantine, notwithstanding a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result.
Filipinos and foreign passengers merely transiting through these countries need not complete a 14-day quarantine in facilities but must comply with the government’s existing testing and quarantine protocols.
Specimens of COVID-positive travelers from the said nations must undergo genome sequencing.
In late April, the Philippine government imposed a travel ban on India following a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the South Asian country.
Earlier Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that six travelers from India, who arrived in the country prior to the travel ban, have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The DOH said their specimens were already submitted to the Philippine Genome Center for whole-genome sequencing.
India first reported about the double-mutant or B.1.617 variant in October last year. So far, the latest virus mutation has been detected in countries such as the United States, Australia, Israel, and Singapore.
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