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Philippines bans travellers from 10 countries, including Malaysia

THE Philippines has extended its travel ban for travellers from 10 countries, including Malaysia until August 15 to prevent the spread of the Delta Covid-19 variant.

Reports in Manila Times said the other countries as announced by Malacanang are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, United Arad Emirates, Indonesia and Thailand.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendations from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to extend the travel restrictions currently imposed on 10 countries starting August 1 until August 15, 2021," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr.

On July 14, the government extended the travel ban, which covers India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, UAE, and Oman.

The travel ban on India was first imposed from April 29 to May 15 after health authorities worldwide raised alarm over Lambda, a Covid-19 variant that has spread rapidly through parts of South America.

The Philippine government later decided to expand the travel restrictions by including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The extended travel ban came after Duterte expressed concern over the contagious Delta variant, first detected in India.

The country has, so far, reported 216 cases of the Delta variant, but health experts say there could be more undetected cases because of the slow pace of the country's genome sequencing capacity.

Duterte on Wednesday ordered village chiefs to prevent those in their communities who refuse to be vaccinated from leaving home.

"I am telling you, don't leave your homes. If you go out, I will tell the police to escort you back to your house because you are a walking spreader," Duterte said. "If you don't want to help the country by getting vaccinated, then better stay in your homes."

The President said the country could not afford to go "back to square one", in case the Delta Covid-19 variant continues to rise.

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