DOH, DFA eyeing India travel ban as new COVID variant emerges | Inquirer News

DOH, DFA eyeing India travel ban as new COVID variant emerges

/ 12:51 PM April 26, 2021

File photo shows commuters walk on a railway platform after disembarking from a train amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India (Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are in initial talks regarding the possible travel ban on India due to a new COVID-19 variant detected in the South Asian nation.

“Pinagaaralan ngayon ng Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID variants itong sinasabing Indian variant and nagkaroon na rin tayo ng initial discussion with the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media forum Monday.

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(The  Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID variants is studying this so-called Indian variant and we have already had initial discussions with the Department of Foreign Affairs.)

“So they are just waiting for the recommendation of DOH together with our experts,” she added.

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DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire (Screengrab from RTVM)

The said variant has already so far reached six countries but it has yet to be detected in the Philippines, according to Vergeire.

“We reviewed all of our records, pinaaral din natin sa Philippine Genome Center, we have not detected yet this kind of variant across the 5,000 na-sequence na po natin na mga specimen dito sa ating bansa,” the DOH official said.

“So we will give information as soon as the recommendations are out from our experts and DOH will recommend it to IATF,” she added.

So far, the variants detected in the Philippines are those which were first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The Philippines logged 8,162 additional COVID-19 infections on Sunday. Despite the high daily count, active COVID-19 cases are steadily going down due to the high recovery rate.

covid-19 case count

So far, active cases are at 77,075, while 20,509 new recoveries brought the total recovery count to 903,665.

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TAGS: covid-19 variant, DFA, DoH, India, travel ban
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