DOH eyes travel ban on Malaysia, Thailand amid Delta variant threat
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is studying the possible expansion of the travel ban to arriving travelers from Malaysia and Thailand amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday.
Duque said the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Malaysia and Thailand as both countries see high COVID-19 infections to provide a recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
“Tinitingnan natin ang Malaysia. Tinitingnan na rin natin ang Thailand at kung saan mayroong nang hindi mapigilan na pag-angat ng Delta variant cases,” Duque said at the Laging Handa public briefing when asked of the countries being eyed to be included in the travel ban.
(We are looking at including Malaysia. We are also considering Thailand and other countries where the increase of Delta variant cases can no longer be controlled.)
“‘Yan ang ating binabantayan at mayroong surveillance system na tayo dyan sa ating Epidemiology Bureau. Nakikipag-ugnayan sila sa kanilang mga counterparts para mabigyan tayo ng signal kung napapanahon na na magkaroon tayo ng expanded travel ban sa additional countries,” he added.
(These are the countries we are monitoring. There is already a surveillance system set up by the Epidemiology Bureau. They are coordinating with their counterparts to give us a signal whether we should expand the travel ban to additional countries.)
The latest country to be included in the travel restrictions was Indonesia amid its surge of COVID-19 infections. The travel ban for the neighboring country will start on July 16 and ends on July 31.
Aside from Indonesia, the travel ban, which will likewise lapse at the end of July, also covers India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
The Philippines has so far reported 19 cases of the Delta variant that was first reported in India and is being blamed for the increase of COVID-19 cases in some countries. However, the Delta variant cases recorded in the Philippines were detected at the country’s borders and not locally or in communities. Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, Inquirer trainee
Malaysia reports 7,703 new coronavirus cases
Thailand announces new restrictions in Bangkok, other provinces
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