MANILA — The Philippines is extending suspension of entry of travelers from 10 countries until the middle of August to arrest the spread of the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant, Malacañang said on Friday.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the extension of the travel ban until Aug. 15, from the end date July 31, said his spokesman Harry Roque.
The restriction covers India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, Roque said in a statement.
The travel ban exempts Filipinos who are part of repatriation efforts or special commercial flights, Malacañang earlier said.
With more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases and some 27,000 deaths, the Philippines has the second-worst COVID-19 outbreak in Southeast Asia.
The Philippines has so far reported 119 cases of the Delta variant, first detected in India, but health experts say there could be more undetected cases because of the slow pace of the country's genome sequencing capacity.
Some 7.8 million out of the Philippines 109-million population have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, said Roque.
The government is aiming to immunize up to 70 million people before the year ends.
– With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News; Reuters