MANILA — The Philippines extended its travel restrictions until mid-June to stop a more contagious variant of COVID-19 first detected in India, Malacañang said Wednesday.
The government earlier suspended the entry of travelers from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman and the United Arab Emirates until May 31.
President Rodrigo Duterte “has approved the extension of the restrictions currently in place on inbound travel from the seven countries from June 1 until 2021,” his spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement. June 15″.
The Philippines has confirmed at least 12 cases of the COVID-19 variant that originated in India. In early May, a Filipino seafarer died of COVID-19 after testing positive for the COVID-19 variant.
The World Health Organization said on May 11 that the coronavirus variant B.1.617, first detected in India last year, was classified as a variant of global concern.
The Indian government has faced mounting criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state authorities accused of not adequately planning for an ongoing second wave of coronavirus infections.
India has the second-highest total number of COVID-19 cases in the world, reporting around 250,000 infections and 4,000 deaths per day.
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and casualties after Indonesia.
The Philippines previously recorded cases of the variant first detected in the UK and South Africa, as well as the indigenous P.3 variant.
– Reporting from Reuters