Roque: Travel ban over new virus variant may be lifted if holiday surge won’t swamp PH
MANILA, Philippines — The government may lift travel restrictions on foreigners coming from countries with confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom if hospitals are not overwhelmed by new coronavirus patients infected during the Christmas and New Year holidays, Malacañang said Thursday.
“Kapag lumabas na wala namang tayong surge dahil sa Pasko at Bagong Taon eh handa naman po ang ating ospital para gamutin ang mga magkakasakit. Posible po na makapasok iyong mga dayuhan diyan,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in his regular press briefing.
(If it turns out that we do not have a surge of cases due to the Christmas and New Year holidays, then our hospitals will be ready to accommodate and treat those who will be infected. That’s when we may allow foreigners to enter the country.)
The Philippines has imposed travel curbs on UK and at least 20 more countries due to the threat of the new variant of COVID-19 believed to be up to 70% more contagious than the original variant. The temporary travel ban will last until Jan. 15. https://globalnation.inquirer.net/193087/ph-sets-travel-curbs-vs-6-more-countries-over-new-covid-19-variant
The Palace official likewise explained the non-inclusion of China in the travel curbs despite reports that it has already detected the new variant in its territory, saying that the government is still waiting for official confirmation from reputable international agencies.
“Kung mayroon naman pong confirmation ay isasali rin sila sa listahan. As of now wala pa pong confirmation,” Roque said.
(If there’s a confirmation, we will include China in the travel ban. As of now, there’s still no confirmation)
Although experts said the new variant has yet to reach the Philippines, Hong Kong earlier announced that a passenger from Manila tested positive for the new coronavirus variant. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1380137/doh-no-uk-variant-yet-in-philippines // https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1379994/hong-kong-detects-new-covid-variant-in-passenger-from-ph
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