DOH eyes travel ban on Malaysia, Thailand over Delta variant

July 15, 2021 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 104 views

THE Department of Health (DOH) is studying a possible ban on travelers from Malaysia and Thailand due to the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III made the announcement as he assured the public that the DOH Epidemiology Bureau is monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak in other countries.

“Tinitingnan natin Malaysia, isa-isahin natin. Tinitingnan din natin ang Thailand kung saan merong parang hindi na mapigilan ang pag-angat ng Delta variant cases. ‘Yan ang ating binabantayan. Pinag-aaralan na rin po ‘yan ng Epidemiology Bureau ng DOH at posible na magbigay ng rekomendasyon para sa IATF kung hahabaan ba ang listahan ng mga travel ban sa mga bansa,” he said.

For her part, Dr. Alethea De Guzman, DOH Epidemiology Bureau director, said Malaysia logged a record-high 11,618 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with the Delta variant present in each of its states.

She said the variant has spread to at least 98 countries since it was first identified in December 2020.

De Guzman stressed, however, that two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine remain effective against the Delta variant.

The IATF earlier included Indonesia in the list of countries covered by a temporary travel ban.

The ban on travelers from Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman will be in effect until July 31.

As of July 4, the Philippines has only detected 19 Delta variant cases, all of whom are from returning overseas Filipinos.