Malacañang assured the public that travel restrictions the government imposed on countries with confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 strains will not have much effect on the Philippines’ economy.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the travel ban that the Philippines has ordered so far on 28 countries will not last for the entire month.
He, however, reiterated that the travel ban was important, explaining that it gives the country time to prepare in case there is a surge of COVID-19 cases from the holidays.
“Iyong temporary na travel ban ay hindi naman masyadong matagal po ‘no, Jan. 15 (The temporary travel ban will not last long. It will only be until Jan. 15),” he said Thursday.
“Ito po ay para mabigyan naman ng pagkakataon na makapaghanda tayo kung magkaroon nga ng surge ng kaso (We imposed the travel ban so we can have time to prepare in case the number of COVID-19 cases rise),” he added.
According to Roque, the public has no reason to worry about the economy or the country’s safety against the disease since foreign nationals who are treaty traders and visa holders of economic zones are allowed to enter the Philippines.
“Huwag po tayong mag-alala ‘no, nag-iingat lang tayo (Do not worry. We’re just being cautious),” he said.
“Posible po na makapasok iyong mga dayuhan diyan. Now uulitin ko po ‘no, kakaunti lang naman iyang mga dayuhan na iyan dahil ang mga Pilipino’y pinapayagang umuwi (Foreigners can still come here but there are only a few of them since Filipinos are really the only ones who are allowed to enter the country),” he added.
The Philippines has imposed travel restrictions on passengers from 28 countries where there were confirmed cases of new COVID-19 strains. Austria was the latest country to be added to the list following the detection of the new COVID-19 variant first discovered in South Africa.
The variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa are believed to be more contagious. The Department of Health (DoH) said both mutations have not been detected in the Philippines.