Philippines tightens controls on inbound travellers over COVID-19 variants

Philippines tightens controls on inbound travellers over COVID-19 variants

FILE PHOTO: Manila international airport amid Coronavirus outbreak
FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing hazmat suits for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines, January 14, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA: Travellers entering the Philippines will be required to undergo 14 days of quarantine, up from a week previously, as authorities try to contain more infectious coronavirus variants, the presidential spokesman said on Friday (May 7).

The new controls will apply regardless of whether a visitor has been vaccinated and the first 10 days of quarantine will be in a government-accredited facility and the remainder at home, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a briefing.

Visitors will get a COVID-19 test on the seventh day after arrival, but will still be required to complete a 10-day stay in a facility even if they test negative, Roque said.

READ: Philippines records more than 1 million COVID-19 cases

The Southeast Asian country is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia with more than a million infections, including those caused by variants first detected in Britain and South Africa, and more than 18,000 deaths.

In a bid to prevent the entry of a variant first identified in India, the Philippines has temporarily barred travellers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh from entering the country.

READ: Philippines' Duterte orders police to arrest people for not wearing masks properly

The new controls come after five passengers arriving in the last month with a travel history to India tested positive for COVID-19. Samples had been taken in order to do genome sequencing, the health ministry has said.

The Philippines also allowed a container ship with a travel history to India to dock on Thursday to provide medical assistance to 12 of the 21 Filipino crew members who tested positive for COVID-19.

Out of the 12, two were in critical condition and had to be evacuated to a medical facility for treatment, while the others were receiving care on the ship, the transport ministry said on Friday.

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Source: Reuters/ta

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