Philippines Bans Entry of Foreign Travelers from Japan, Other Countries Amid New Virus Strain

MANILA – The Philippine government on Wednesday has started to bar the entry of foreign travelers from Japan and 18 other countries in addition to the United Kingdom to prevent the new and more transmissible coronavirus variant from entering the country.

The ban is in effect until Jan. 15. Only Filipino nationals are allowed back into the country but must undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period despite a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result.

According to a memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, President Rodrigo Duterte decided to take the measure to address the risks posed by the new coronavirus variant.

Aside from Japan, the other countries included in the travel ban are Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Philippines recorded 1,014 COVID-19 cases nationwide on Wednesday raising the total infections to 472,532. - Florenda Corpuz