Prelates bat for extension of travel ban

Published January 15, 2021, 11:38 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Two Catholic prelates said Friday the government should seriously consider extending the imposition of travel restriction to countries with a reported case of the new COVID-19 strain for the safety of everyone.

Airline ground staff (L) wearing protective gear work at the counter at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Bishops Ruperto Santos of Balanga and Oscar Florencio of the Military Ordinariate said this following the announcement of the Department of Health that the new COVID-19 variant from UK is already in the country.

“With this current situation, yes, for mutual safety and common good of all, our government should extend travel ban to more than 30 countries. All should be protected, health and safety must be promoted,” said Santos in an interview. “Travel ban is a great and necessary help and urgent means to achieve these goals,” he added.

“If this can help I guess they have to seriously consider that, not just for any sake at all but for the common good,” said Florencio.
Santos said the public should be extra cautious as the new UK COVID-19 variant is more transmissible.

“We have to be more careful, be extra cautious and strictly follow the Inter-Agency Task Force protocols. Coronavirus has no boundaries, affects all, and is not weakening down. It is still very strong, contagious,” he said.

The DoH last Wednesday said the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) confirmed the detection of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant in the country after samples from a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Jan. 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.

The patient is a male resident of Quezon City who departed for Dubai on Dec. 27 for business purposes and arrived in the Philippines last Jan. 7 via Emirates Flight No. EK 332.

The Philippine government has imposed temporary travel restrictions until Jan. 15 on some 30 countries where the new variant has been reported.