Ban extended by two weeks

Safety precaution: Passengers wearing hazmat suits walking inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila. — Reuters

The government extended by two weeks a ban on travellers from more than 30 territories and countries where a more transmissible Covid-19 variant has been detected, with the restriction also now covering Filipinos who want to come home.

The South-East Asian country, which has recorded its first case of a new variant that was first found in Britain, has the second highest number of Covid-19 cases and casualties in the region, next to Indonesia.

The flight ban, which has been expanded from the initial 19 countries and territories and was initially imposed for two weeks until yesterday, will now be in effect until Jan 31, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement yesterday.

The prohibition also now covers travellers from China starting Jan 13, and the United States beginning Jan 3.

While the British variant was found to be nearly 70% more transmissible than the original one, there is no evidence yet that it is more dangerous.

The flight ban now covers all travellers coming from or transiting through the flagged countries, which also include Japan, Australia, Israel, Hong Kong, France, Germany and Italy, the statement added.

Previously Filipinos from those areas were allowed to come home on condition that they underwent a 14-day quarantine in a government-designated isolation facility.

Roque said exemptions to the entry restrictions may be issued by the government’s coronavirus task force. — Reuters

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