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Philippines to lift travel ban on India, 9 other countries

Christian Fernsby |
The Philippines will lift the travel ban for all inbound travelers from India and nine other countries starting September 6 despite the rising COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Saturday.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the inter-agency COVID-19 task force to lift the current travel restrictions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

"International travelers coming from the above mentioned countries shall, however, comply with the appropriate entry, testing, and quarantine protocols," Roque said in a statement.

However, foreign tourists are still banned from entering the country except for holders of special visas such as diplomats and foreign spouses of Filipino citizens.

The local transmission of the Delta variant has spread to communities in the Philippines. The country has detected 1,789 Delta cases, including 33 deaths. The World Health Organization confirmed the community transmission of the Delta variant, saying it is now the dominant COVID-19 strain spreading in the Philippines.

In April, the Philippines imposed a ban on India and later expanded to include the nine other countries with Delta cases.

The Philippines is now grappling with soaring COVID-19 infections. The Southeast Asian country has reported a total of 2,040,568 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Friday, including 33,873 deaths.

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