Duque: Travel ban eyed vs other countries with community transmission of new virus variant | Inquirer News
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Duque: Travel ban eyed vs other countries with community transmission of new virus variant

/ 08:16 PM December 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A travel ban on other countries would only be considered once there is already a community transmission of the new coronavirus variant there, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Saturday.

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This comes amid reports that the new SARS-CoV-2 strain first detected in the United Kingdom (UK) has already arrived in countries such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia.

“Ikunsidera lamang ang travel ban, Mr. President kung nasa lebel na ng community transmission ang new variant sa naturang bansa (UK),” Duque said in a meeting with President Duterte and members of the Cabinet.

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(We just consider the travel ban, Mr. President, if the new variant in that country is already at the level of community transmission.)

Duque’s office clarified that the DOH chief was referring to countries with the reported cases of the new variant, not just in the UK.

The new SARS-CoV-2 strain is believed to be up to 70% more infectious than the original variant.

Several countries have already imposed a travel ban on the UK, including Canada, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, and Germany, to prevent the new strain’s entry.

The Philippines initially suspended flights from the UK from Dec. 24 until Dec. 31.

READ: Countries ban UK flights as Britain says new virus strain ‘out of control’ 

Later, President Rodrigo Duterte approved a recommendation to extend the UK travel ban for two more weeks.

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Duque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease will revisit the directive on the suspension of flights before it lapses and the new risk classification of different areas in the country.

The Health chief likewise recommended that travelers coming from countries confirmed to have the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: COVID-19, Francisico Duque III, Health, new strain, Philippines, travel ban
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