MANILA — Three expatriates and a returning overseas Filipino from South Africa who are currently in Negros Occidental have tested negative for COVID-19, a provincial official said Thursday.
But the four travelers must still complete their 14-day quarantine, said Negros Occidental provincial administrator Rayfrando Diaz.
In a separate Teleradyo interview, Diaz explained that South Africa was still a part of the Philippines' "green list" at the time the four travelers arrived in the country, which was why they no longer had to undergo quarantine in Manila.
But when news of the Omicron variant that was first detected in South Africa broke, local officials looked for the travelers so they could undergo quarantine and COVID-19 testing.
Seven more travelers from South Africa are expected to arrive in Negros Occidental but they are currently undergoing quarantine in Metro Manila, said Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.
While much is still unknown about the Omicron variant, the World Health Organization believes its high number of mutations may make it more transmissible or resistant to vaccines.
The Philippines is among countries that recently imposed stricter border controls to curb the spread of the new variant.
--Report from Romeo Subaldo