The National Task Force against COVID-19 recommended extending the travel restrictions until June 15, 2021, to several countries, although the President has not confirmed anything yet regarding the matter.
To prevent the spread of the B.1617 "double mutant" variant of the coronavirus, which was first discovered in India, the Philippines barred the entry of travellers coming from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates until May 31.
However, even with the implementation of the memorandum, the country confirmed its first two cases of the B.1617 variant last May 11. Both cases came from returning overseas Filipinos who had no travel history from India. Currently, the Philippines has detected a total of 13 people infected with the same variant.
According to the Department of Health, The Philippines also has at least 1,071 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant from the United Kingdom and 1,246 cases of the B.1.351 variant from South Africa, which has contributed to the surge in infections in some areas.
Vietnam, one of our neighbouring countries, said they also detected a new variant described to be a combination of the ones found in India and the UK on Friday.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to address the nation on Monday night and announce the new quarantine classifications in the country for June. Still, it is not yet clear if he will discuss the travel restrictions.
"Wala pa pong lumalabas na memorandum galing sa tanggapan ng Presidente tungkol sa continuation ng travel ban, bagamat meron pong rekomendasyon ang IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) to extend 'yung existing travel bans until June 15," Roque said in a media briefing.
(The Office of the President has not yet released a memorandum regarding the continuation of the travel ban, although the IATF has recommended extending this until June 15.)
Source: CNN Philippines