Gov’t discussing expansion of temporary travel ban amid Omicron variant threat
MANILA, Philippines — The government is discussing whether more nations should be included in the country’s temporary ban list due to the threat of the new South Africa COVID-19 variant called Omicron.
Advisers from the World Health Organization have recommended to tag B.1.1.529, given a Greek name Omicron, as a variant of concern.
During the Laging Handa briefing, Department of Health Director Dr. Beverly Ho was asked if the agency is recommending to include Hong Kong in the travel ban list as two cases of Omicron variant were detected there.
“May ongoing po na discussion ngayon at asahan niyo po ‘no na magiging—magkakaroon ng mga developments within the day or by tomorrow tungkol sa possible expansion po ng mga listahan pero siyempre naka-base pa ‘to ‘no sa makukuha nating datos sa iba’t ibang parte ng mundo na ngayon, lumalabas po ‘no kung sila na po ay mayroon ding mga na-detect,” Ho shared.
(There is an ongoing discussion and you can expect developments within the day or tomorrow on the possible expansion of the list. It will be based on data that we will obtain from other parts of the world, if they have already detected a case in their country.)
On Friday, the Philippines suspended flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique until December 15 to prevent possible entry of the Omicron variant.
The said countries have local cases or “with the likelihood of occurrences of the B.1.1.529 variant,” Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said.
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