Travel ban helps prevent entry of Omicron variant in PH – health expert

The national government’s quick declaration of travel ban and imposition of border control helped in preventing the entry of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the country, said a public health advocate.

(File Photo / Unsplash)

“Higit na mabilis ngayon . At bigla na lang rin tayong nagbago ng quarantine natin, at nag-ingat ang lahat ng tao (The declaration of travel ban is much faster now. We’ve also changed our quarantine protocols, and the people are being careful),” said Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon in a DZRH interview on Sunday, Dec. 12.

To further prevent the entry of the said variant, Leachon said that the country needs to guard its “portals of entry.”

“We have to really guard our portals of entry. Yung Wuhan strain natin, ‘yan ay through the backdoor – from Taiwan dumaan siya ng Cebu, Dumaguete, then National Capital Region (NCR) (The Wuhan strain, it entered through the backdoor – from Taiwan it crossed Cebu, Dumaguete, then NCR),” he said.

“Sa atin, this holiday season ay maraming uuwi. Maraming returning Filipinos (ROFs) and tourists, siguro kaya naghigpit ngayon ang quarantine natin at naka-impose din ‘yung travel ban natin sa mga red flag areas (This holiday season, many people are going home. There are many ROFs and tourists, maybe that is the reason why we’ve tightened our quarantine and imposed our travel ban on red flag areas),“ he added.

Until Wednesday, Dec. 15, a travel ban for passengers coming from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, France, and Portugal is in effect.

Only Filipinos arriving through the bayanihan flights are allowed, all of which will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine period. (Charie Mae F. Abarca)