Philippines set to lift Covid travel ban on Pakistan

MANILA: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is lifting a ban on travellers from 10 countries, including Pakistan, India and the United Arab Emirates, the presidential spokesperson announced on Saturday.

The ban will be lifted on Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

The travel ban, which was first imposed on April 27 due to Covid-19 pandemic, has been rolled over several times and was expanded to include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

However, any future travellers from the said countries will have to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival, Roque said.

The Philippines had, in the second week of August, announced an extension in the ban on travellers from Pakistan, India and eight other countries from Aug 16 to Aug 30 because of concerns posed by the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

As cases surged, more hospitals in the capital region had reported intensive care units, isolation beds and wards were nearing full capacity, and some had to refuse new patients because of a lack of beds and ventilators.

The Philippines, which has among the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, is battling a renewed surge in Covid-19 cases driven by community transmission of the more infectious Delta variant. – Reuters