The Philippines on Friday extended travel restrictions for those coming from India and nine other countries till August 15 to check the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant amid a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to extend the travel restrictions currently imposed to 10 countries starting August 1 until August 15, 2021, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Facebook post.
The countries include India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, he said.
The Philippines imposed the travel ban on India initially on April 29 which was extended. On July 14, the government extended the travel ban, which covers India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, UAE, and Oman till July 31.
According to a report in Manila Times, the extended travel ban came after President Duterte expressed concern over the contagious Delta variant, first detected in India.
The country has, so far, reported 216 cases of the Delta variant, but health experts say there could be more undetected cases because of the slow pace of the country’s genome sequencing capacity.
Duterte on Wednesday advised those who don’t want to be vaccinated to stay at home.
“I am telling you, don’t leave your homes. If you go out, I will tell the police to escort you back to your house because you are a walking spreader,” Duterte was quoted as saying in the report.
The President said the country could not afford to go “back to square one,” in case the Delta COVID-19 variant continues to rise.
Coronavirus cases in the Philippines hit a two-month high on Friday with 8,562 new coronavirus infections, pushing the national tally to 1,580,824, the Philippines Star reported.