MANILA, Philippines — The two-week ban on the entry of travelers from India will also cover Filipinos coming from the South Asian nation, the Department of Health said Wednesday.
The travel restriction will start on April 29 to May 14. Those with travel history to India are also covered by the move.
“It was decided that even our fellow Filipinos will not be allowed entry for this temporary period. This is so we can be able to ensure that we guard our borders,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in mix of English and Filipino during a briefing.
The Philippines joined the list of countries that decided to impose restrictions on travelers from India, which is experiencing an alarming surge being blamed on a “double mutant” coronavirus variant and superspreader events.
The B.1.617 variant of COVID-19 first found in India has been categorized as a “variant of interest” and has been detected in at least 17 countries.
“We need to understand that even though this variant is still not of concern, but still under investigation based on World Health Organization’s classification, we need to be careful,” Vergeire said.
Citing local experts, the health official said the B.1.1.7 variant, or the one that originated in the United Kingdom, is also driving the surge in India.
“Of course, our country would like to restrict our borders first. We are being careful because we are seeing what’s happening there,” Vergeire said.
Vergeire also said the arrival of COVID-19 jabs manufactured in India could be delayed.
“Because of what’s happening in India, they have stopped their commitments to other counties… Our plans are flexible so we can be able to adapt and adjust if ever there will be these kinds of things that will happen,” she said. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Agence France Presse