The Philippines is expanding its travel ban to cover four more South Asian countries -- Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan -- Malacañang said Wednesday to thwart the possible entry and spread of a new COVID-19 virus variant reported first in India.
The ban on travelers coming from the four nations will take effect on May 7 and will last until May 14, the same day that an earlier ban on travelers from India expires, according to a memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Travelers coming from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, who will arrive in the Philippines before May 7 will be allowed entry, Medialdea said, but must undergo 14 days of facility-based quarantine and should be tested via RT-PCR for COVID-19.
Filipinos and foreign travelers who are merely transiting through India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh will also be allowed entry provided they meet the following conditions:
1. They stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into these countries by their immigration authorities.
2. Upon arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by the said conditions need not complete a full 14-day facility-based quarantine, but shall comply with existing testing and quarantine protocols of the national government.
Samples from those who will test positive for COVID-19 will be subject to genome sequencing to determine the variant, Medialdea said. Close contacts will be required to undergo 14-day facility-based quarantine.
With the exception of the five countries, the Philippines has started to allow the entry of foreign nationals starting May 1.