Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) – July 2, 2021 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The government is eyeing a ban on the entry of travelers from Indonesia amid threats of the COVID 19 Delta variant, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said yesterday.
“This is being studied by our technical advisory group of experts. I understand that there are already many countries (that) the Delta variant has invaded,” Duque said.
“We are in a state of public health emergency. We don’t want to be (like) India, Indonesia, where there are increasing COVID-19 cases, predominantly the Delta variant,” Duque added, as he stressed the need for stricter border control and quarantine protocols.
The existing ban on travelers from the United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman, Nepal and Bangladesh has been extended to July 15 due to concerns about the Delta variant.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos believes Metro Manila is “ready” for a downgrade of the current general community quarantine (GCQ) but thorough preparation is needed because of the Delta variant.
Abalos said the region’s local chief executives are ready but discussions should first be held.
“We are ready. But Metro Manila mayors would first discuss the preparations [for the modified GCQ] because of course, there is the Delta variant,” Abalos said in Filipino during yesterday’s Laging Handa briefing.
The MMDA chairman also said that the national government and LGUs are “successful” in declaring the appropriate quarantine status.
He underscored the downward trend of COVID-19 cases in the region, and lauded the government’s ability to calibrate and balance health and economy in their decision-making.
Abalos also said they would defer the decision to place areas under any community quarantine to health experts and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. The government earlier placed the region under GCQ until July 15.
Abalos also noted that while restrictions are “loosening,” people should still continue to be responsible and follow minimum health protocols.
As of yesterday, the country recorded 5,795 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 1,418,337. It has a total of 1,341,973 recoveries and 24,797 deaths, with 51,567 active COVID-19 cases. — Ralph Edwin Villanueva