MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it was looking into 41 close contacts of 2 overseas Filipino workers confirmed to be carrying the Indian variant of COVID-19.
These include people seated either 4 seats in front, 4 seats behind or 4 seats on either side of the travelers who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to the country, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.
"We are tracing all of them and checking all of their statuses," she said.
"The protocols were followed and hopefully, hindi po tayo nagkaroon ng (we did not have) breaches in protocol," she said.
Earlier this week, the DOH confirmed that 2 Filipino men in their mid-30s who flew home in April were infected with the B.1.617 variant, which was first detected in India, now being ravaged by a fierce COVID-19 surge killing thousands daily.
The passenger from Oman had 6 close contacts, while the traveler from the United Arab Emirates had 35 close contacts, Vergeire said.
"Lahat ng taong ito ay subjected to protocols. They were tested on the 5th or 6th day," she said.
(All these people were subjected to protocols. They were tested on the 5th or 6th day.)
The Philippines has expanded its travel ban to deter the entry of the Indian variant, which is more infectious compared to other COVID-19 mutations.
Passengers from Oman and the United Arab Emirates will be barred from entering the Philippines from May 15 to 31, according to an advisory from Malacañang.
"All existing travel restrictions of passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are extended until 2359H of May 31, 2021," it said.