The Philippines on Friday banned flights from South Africa and other countries with cases of a new COVID-19 variant that has been reported to have a large number of mutations.
Flights from Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique are also banned until Dec. 15 due to the threat of the B.1.1. 529 variant, Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles said.
"Passengers coming from or having been to these abovementioned countries within the last 14 days prior to arrival shall be temporarily barred from entering the country," Nograles said.
Travelers in transit from the said countries and those who have been to the mentioned areas 14 days before arrival in the Philippines who will arrive not later than 12:01 a.m. of Nov. 28 will be allowed entry subject to strict quarantine and COVID-19 testing.
Passengers, including Filipinos, who are transiting through the mentioned countries will not be allowed entry to the Philippines provided that they stayed at the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry in the said areas by its immigration atuhorities, Nograles said.
The WHO had said that it was "closely monitoring" the reported variant.