Coronavirus Pandemic

New Covid strain: Philippines bans arrivals from 20 countries over new virus variant

Filed on December 29, 2020 | Last updated on December 29, 2020 at 04.29 pm
Photo: Reuters

Foreigners have been largely banned from entering the country during the pandemic.

The Philippines will shut its borders to foreigners arriving from 20 countries and territories in a bid to prevent a new strain of coronavirus entering the nation, officials said Tuesday.

The ban on travellers from places including Australia, France, Japan and Hong Kong comes as the archipelago braces for a post-Christmas surge in the virus that has infected nearly half a million people.

Dozens of countries closed their borders to the Britain in recent weeks over rising cases of a variant that is believed to spread faster.

The Philippines — which has not yet detected the new strain — was among them, and in Tuesday’s announcement it extended the ban to January 15.

The measure takes effect Wednesday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

Foreigners have been largely banned from entering the country during the pandemic, but authorities recently started to allow entry to holders of certain types of visas.

Filipinos returning home from countries on the list will be allowed to enter, but will have to undergo 14-days quarantine even if they test negative for Covid-19, he added.

- Denmark

- Ireland

- Japan

- Australia

- Israel

- The Netherlands

- Hong Kong, SAR

- Switzerland

- France

- Germany

- Iceland

- Italy

- Lebanon

- Singapore

- Sweden

- South Korea

- South Africa

- Canada

- Spain

Meanwhile, after months of talks, the Philippines has approved an application for its first clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate — developed by Johnson & Johnson’s Belgian subsidiary Janssen — the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

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