MANILA — A ban on the entry of foreign travelers that is meant to halt the spread of a new, more contagious COVID-19 variant will "lapse" on Jan. 31, as initially announced, Malacañang said on Friday.
Authorities in December implemented the ban, which was gradually expanded to cover over 30 countries that have reported the new variant. The Philippines detected it first patient with the new variant earlier this month in a Filipino who had traveled back from Dubai.
"The [travel] restriction remains until January 31, 2021 and would lapse after the aforesaid date," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
Foreigners who have tourist visas are still prohibited from entering the country, he said in a statement.
Inbound travelers "still need to complete their 14-day quarantine," he added.
The Philippines has tallied 519,575 coronavirus infections, as of Thursday. This includes 17 cases of the UK variant. The unabated first wave of infections has prevented the economy from fully reopening.