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PH bans travelers coming from India starting April 29

By Bim Santos Published Apr 27, 2021 6:49 pm Updated Apr 27, 2021 9:03 pm

All travelers coming from India, which is currently experiencing a massive COVID-19 surge, will be temporarily barred from entering the Philippines effective 1 a.m. of April 29 until May 14, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

According to palace spokesman Harry Roque, the ban will be effective April 29 to May 14. Travellers from India arriving from India 14 days before April 29 are not covered by the travel ban, but will need to undergo strict quarantine and testing protocol.

"Absolute facility-based quarantine for 14 days kahit na po mayroon na silang negative RT-PCR," said Roque.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is also looking at imposing travel restrictions on countries where the COVID-19 variant found in India has been found.

Earlier, foreign affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has already tweeted about imposing a travel ban on India.

“I have suggested to the IATF that a travel ban be imposed on all our good friends in the entire Indian subcontinent,” Locsin said in a tweet.

“It’s not personal; it’s for everyone’s safety for now; we’ll be able to be together again and we can recall the time when we had to be apart to live.”

India has just posted a global record of almost 340,000 new COVID-19 infections, with various hospitals now across the country stretched to capacity in terms of personnel and health supplies. 

As casualties from the pandemic pile up, more and more bodies are being burned up in pyres in the South Asian country, with some crematorium now running out of wood.

The wave is being blamed on mass gatherings and the influx of a more contagious strain of COVID-19.

Earlier today, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said they are still determining whether to impose a travel ban on India.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Duque said that the variant reported in India is still under investigation.

"The Philippine Genome Center has not reported to the IATF whether this has evolved to become a variant of concern. This is still considered a variant under investigation," Duque said.

Duque, however, said that they will take up the issue in the IATF.

Countries that have already imposed travel restrictions on India include the United States, Italy, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Singapore, Iran, Kuwait, Indonesia, and France among others. (with Pinky Icamen)