The Department of Health (DOH) is mulling to recommend travel restrictions for passengers from the UAE, following the first reported case of new COVID-19 variant in the Philippines.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during a virtual press briefing on Thusday, “We will recommend to the Office of the President of the inclusion of UAE in the travel restriction.”
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the recommendation for this travel restriction serves as part of the country’s proactive measures to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, which is believed to be more transmissible.
“This is the recommendation of our experts for us to buy time to analyze this case, determine other individuals affected by this variant, and prepare our healthcare system kung may makita tayong pagtaas ng kaso,” she said.
The country’s first confirmed case of the UK variant was confirmed by the DOH on Wednesday. The patient arrived from Dubai last January 7.
“Following strengthened surveillance and border control efforts, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Genome Center today confirm the detection of the B.1.1.7 Sars-COV 2 (UK Variant) in the country,” the DOH said.
The patient, immediately after arrival in the Philippines, underwent a swab test and quarantined in a hotel.
His female companion tested negative for the virus and is now undergoing strict quarantine protocols.
Both of the passengers said that they had no exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals and had no travel activities outside Quezon City.
Below are the list of territories with ongoing travel ban implemented by the Philippine government (effective until January 15):
1. United Kingdom
7. The Netherlands
8. Hong Kong
17. South Korea
18. South Africa