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Locsin hits task force decision to include Italy on 'red list'

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Locsin hits task force decision to include Italy on 'red list'
In this Oct. 18, 2018 photo, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. represents President Rodrigo Duterte at the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit and EU-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — The country's top diplomat slammed the coronavirus task force for its inclusion of Italy in the list of countries with travel restrictions amid the looming threat of the newly-discovered Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"WHY IS ITALY ON THE RED LIST? On the basis of the WHO Report of November 28, 2021 that there is ONE SOLITARY case of infection, IATF’s Data Analytics Group extrapolated a surge," Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said in a tweet. 

"Our famously warm relations with Italy went down the drain. I want a reconsideration based on science."

The Department of Foreign Affairs is a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases. Locsin questioned why the national government's task force opted to ban inbound travelers from Italy when only one imported case of the Omicron variant was recorded at the time the list was updated. 

As it currently stands, nations on the red list include Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy after they were added Sunday, November 28, joining Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

According to the IATF, inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or with travel history in “red list” territories within the past two weeks before the arrival to any port of the Philippines is prohibited.

Earlier Wednesday, the Department of Science and Technology’s Vaccine Expert Panel expressed support for mandatory vaccination and travel restrictions amid the threat of the variant. 

No cases of the Omicron variant, which has since been designated as a variant of concern, have been detected in the country yet, but health experts have said that it is just a matter of time.

To date, health authorities have recorded 2.8 million cases of the pathogen in the Philippines. 

 

COVID-19 VARIANT DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS INTER-AGENCY TASK FORCE ON EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
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