Despite Covid-19 Variant, Philippines Won’t Expand Travel Ban

MANILA: Amid calls to expand the travel ban for those from affected countries, Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque believes the 14-day quarantine would prevent the transmission of the new Covid-19 variant.

“Whether it be the new strain or the old strain, our protection against it is the 14-day quarantine and the use of mask, washing hands and physical distancing,” Roque said, according to the portal.

The government has banned all flights from the United Kingdom, where cases of the new Covid-19 strain has been found more transmissible. This prompted several lawmakers to call for the ban to be imposed on those from countries where the new strain has been detected.

On Monday, Roque said the two-week quarantine would prevent the transmission of the variant. He also said those arriving from countries with the new strain must complete the isolation period regardless of the results of their Covid-19 test.

“This means that even if there is a new strain coming from these countries, this would not spread because it would be mandatory for them to be quarantined in New Clark City,” Roque said, adding that the travel ban could possibly be expanded to cover countries with the variant.

“Let us just wait for the developments because the Department of Health (DoH) is saying that while there is no community transmission of the new variant in the different countries, a 14-day quarantine could be imposed and this would be regardless of the results of their PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test”

The DoH said no new strain had been reported in the country, where President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered tighter border control and surveillance.

He suspended the pilot testing of in-person classes, which were supposed to start next month.

On Saturday, the DoH and other health experts recommended a mandatory 14-day quarantine for passengers from countries with the new strain, but said a travel ban should only be considered if there was a community transmission in the country of origin.


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