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Philippines imposes travel ban on Indonesia to ward off Delta variant

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines imposes travel ban on Indonesia to ward off Delta variant
People wait for admission outside the emergency ward of a hospital tending to COVID-19 coronavirus patients in Surabaya on July 11, 2021, as Indonesia faces its most serious outbreak driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
AFP / Juni Kriswanto

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:31 p.m.) — The Philippines will prohibit the entry of travelers coming from neighboring Indonesia to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, Malacañang announced Wednesday. 

The ban will be in place from July 16 to 31. It will cover all travelers coming from Indonesia or those with travel history to the country within 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines.

This was after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the government’s pandemic task force to add the Southeast Asian nation in the list of countries covered by the travel ban. 

“Passengers already in transit from [Indonesia] and all those who have been to the same within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines who arrive before 12:01 a.m. of July 16, 2021 may still be allowed to enter the country but will be required to under a full 14-day facility quarantine notwithstanding a negative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) result,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said. 

Indonesia is battling a surge in COVID-19 cases that authorities say is driven by the more transmissible Delta variant.

Studies suggest the variant spreads more quickly and appears to have stronger resistance to vaccines than other forms of COVID-19. 

Malacañang also announced Wednesday that the pandemic task force has once again extended the ban on travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The ban, which was set to lapse on July 15, will stay in place until July 31. It was enforced to keep out the Delta variant, which originated from India.

Local health authorities have so far reported 19 cases of the Delta variant in the Philippines.

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