MANILA — The Philippines will temporarily ban the entry of travelers from India, which is wrestling with a surge of COVID-19 infections caused by more virulent coronavirus variants, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
All travelers coming from India or those with travel history to India within the 14 days preceding arrival will be prohibited from entering the Philippines "beginning 0001H of April 29, 2021, until May 14, 2021," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
The restriction will cover Filipinos, he added in a video message.
The travel ban exempts passengers already in transit from India or with recent travel history to the country, who arrive in the Philippines "before 0001H of April 29, 2021," said Roque.
However, they are required to quarantine for 14 days at a facility "notwithstanding a negative Reverse Transcription - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) result," he said.
"Restrictions as to travelers coming from other countries that report the new strain may be imposed by the Office of the President upon the joint recommendation of the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs," said the Palace official.
The Department of Transportation should ensure that airlines do not allow the boarding of passengers covered by travel restriction, "except if they are part of the repatriation efforts of the national government," Roque said.
Nearby Cambodia also announced a similar ban, effective Thursday, to also cover people who have been to India as far back as three weeks. Both Cambodia and the Philippines have seen big jumps in case numbers in recent weeks.
Over the last six days, India has racked up more than 300,000 cases a day, pushing the public health system close to collapse in major cities such as the capital, New Delhi.
– With a report from Reuters