MANILA, Philippines — The government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has recommended the inclusion of Indonesia in the existing list of countries with travel restrictions to the Philippines.
IATF and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the proposal has been submitted for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval.
The move seeks to prevent the entry to the country of more cases of highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant
“Ang makukumpirma ko lang po, mayroon na pong recommendation ang IATF at inaantay lang po natin ang desisyon ng ating president,” he said during a Palace virtual briefing.
The recommendation comes after Indonesia reported an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases, which has led to a severe shortage of oxygen supplies to treat critical patients.
The Philippines is implementing a ban on the entry of travelers from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates until July 15.
The travel ban excludes Filipinos who are being repatriated by the government and private sector.
Roque assured that the government continues to implement tight border controls to prevent the entry of the Delta variant.
Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government is now coordinating with agencies to help provide oxygen supplies to Indonesia.
“Kinausap din po natin sila kung sino ang may extra capacity na pwedeng magsupply sa Indonesia, so far po nakakuha kami ng dalawang possible suppliers. So yun po ang pwedeng maitulong natin,” he said.
Other countries such as Singapore and the United States have also reached out to Indonesia to address its oxygen shortage. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)