Travelers from Indonesia banned to stop spread of Delta variant

FILE PHOTO: Passengers, mostly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) queue at the departure area of Ninoy Aquino International Airport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, June 1, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

The government banned on Wednesday travelers from Indonesia until the end of July to check the spread of the dreaded Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation to include Indonesia in the list of seven countries currently in the travel restrictions.

Nations already listed in the travel ban are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has approved the travel restrictions for all travelers coming from Indonesia or those with travel history to Indonesia within the last 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines,” he said in a press statement on Wednesday afternoon.

Roque said travelers from Indonesia will be barred from entering the country from July 16 to July 31.

Passengers already in transit from Indonesia within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines, who arrive before July 16 may still be allowed to enter the country.

However, these passengers will be required to undergo a full 14-day facility quarantine even after getting a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has recommended a travel ban from Indonesia as it battles a worsening surge in Covid-19 infections.

We are just waiting for a response from the Office of the President but the IATF has already recommended that Indonesia be included in the list of countries that we initially imposed a travel ban,” Duque said partly in Filipino.

Reports said Indonesia has recorded 47,899 new infections as of Tuesday, bringing its total number of infections to 2.6 million.

It also reported 864 new deaths, pushing its death toll to over 68,000.

The Philippines has so far reported a total of 19 cases of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India.

The Delta coronavirus variant is found to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and apparently behind the surge in cases in other countries, according to reports.

Duterte earlier expressed concern over the emergence of new Covid-19 strains like the Delta and Lambda variants and assured that the government is closely monitoring the country’s border to prevent local transmission.

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