The Philippines has extended its travel restrictions on travelers from United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman, Nepal and Bangladesh until July 15 due to the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement in an interview on state-run PTV 4.
The Delta variant was first detected in India and is 60% more transmissible, according to experts.
The travel ban in the said countries was supposed to expire on June 30.
Stranded overseas Filipino workers in these countries have been calling on the Philippine government to help them return to the Philippines amid the travel ban.
Under existing policy, flights from these countries that are exempted from the travel ban are only those repatriation flights for OFWs organized by the Philippine government or private entities.
Likewise, the Philippine government only allows entry to around 1,200 to 1,500 returning Filipinos on a daily basis due to limited quarantine facilities.
These policies mean stranded OFWs have to wait for their turn.
In a press briefing, Roque sought apology from affected Filipinos, saying the ban is needed to prevent transmission of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“We apologize for this measure since this is an effective measure to prevent the more transmissible Delta variant and prevent Filipinos from getting sick,” he said. —KBK, GMA News