MANILA — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Tuesday he has sought a ban on travelers from India as it continued to grapple with record-high COVID-19 infections, which already killed and infected several Filipinos there.
In a tweet, Locsin said he recommended the travel ban to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 for Filipinos' safety.
Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing Jr. earlier in the day said 2 Filipinos there have died due to COVID-19 this week, while 20 others are currently infected by the respiratory disease.
"I have suggested to the IATF that a travel ban be imposed on all our good friends in the entire Indian subcontinent," said Locsin.
"It’s not personal; it’s for everyone’s safety for now; we’ll be able to be together again and we can recall the time when we had to be apart to live," he added.
Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, earlier said that the proposal is being discussed with authorities.
“Iyan po ay pinag-aaralan at tatalakayin din po sa IATF (inter-agency task force on COVID-19),” Roque explained.
(That is currently being discussed by the IATF)
The task force will meet later in the day, he said in a press briefing.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday also said it was mulling a travel ban on India over its reported new variant.
The new variant — B.1.617 — added more than 300,000 fresh infections last week to the global total, with patients appearing mostly in India and some in the United States, Australia, Israel, Singapore and parts of Europe.
It has not been detected in the country so far, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
On Monday, India reported more than 352,000 new COVID-19 cases, a global record for the rise in daily cases on the fifth straight day, eclipsing even the United States at the height of its pandemic last year.
More than 2,800 deaths were recorded over the last 24 hours, an all-time high.
— With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News
Video courtesy of PTV