Europe-PH News

Govt mulls possible expansion of travel ban due to Omicron variant

November 29, 2021

CNN Philippines Staff

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 27) — The government is discussing the possible expansion of the travel ban meant to prevent the spread of Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant of concern, a health official said Saturday.

"May ongoing po na discussion ngayon at asahan niyo po na magkakaroon ng mga developments within the day or by tomorrow tungkol sa possible expansion," Department of Health Director Beverly Ho said in a government briefing.

[Translation: There is already an ongoing discussion, and expect that developments will occur within the day or by tomorrow regarding the possible expansion.]

She made the remark after being asked whether the country will also suspend inbound flights from Hong Kong since it has two Omicron cases.

South Africa, where Omicron was first detected, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique are currently included in the ban, which is in effect until Dec. 15.

Passengers who arrive before 12:01 a.m. of Nov. 28 despite staying in the abovementioned countries for the past 14 days will still be allowed to enter the Philippines. However, they will be subject to a 14-day facility-based quarantine.

Other countries also imposed new travel restrictions shortly after the world learned about the new Omicron variant.

While studies are ongoing to determine how dangerous Omicron is, some of its mutations are "concerning," according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Preliminary evidence also suggests an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron, as compared to other variants of concern, WHO added.

In light of the new variant, DOH's Ho reminded everyone that fighting COVID-19 variants is a shared responsibility. She advised people to get vaccinated if they have not yet done so and continue following the government-prescribed minimum health standards to protect themselves and their families.


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