Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año explained Sunday that the Philippines has not yet imposed travel bans from other nations even with the new COVID-19 strain being detected in the United Kingdom unless a “community transmission’’ is present in that concerned country.

(Photo by Miggy Hilario / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview over ABS-CBN News, Año said that before a travel ban can be considered against a country, it has to have “community transmission’’ that cannot be controlled.
On December 24, Manila already suspended flights coming from the UK where a new coronavirus strain was discovered supposedly until December 31.
But President Duterte heeded the calls of his men and extended the ban for another two weeks.
It also imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for those who arrived before the ban was made which also included travelers from countries that reported to have a case of the new COVID-19 strain.
Reports disclosed that Japan, France, Ireland and Singapore are some of the countries with reported cases of the new coronavirus variant.
A year ago the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 is believed to have emanated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. 
Año noted that local authorities have yet to decide whether to impose another lockdown in the wake of the discovery of the new COVID-19 starin.
“Di pa naman masasabi na magla-lockdown tayo kasi ako naman ay ‘di rin ako sang-ayon na mag-lockdown tayo. Kailangan dito, bantayan natin ang border at ipatupad natin ang health protocols at wala namang laban ang virus na ‘yan ‘pag ikaw ay nag-iingat at naka-mask (We cannot say that there will be a lockdown since I for one does not agree to that lockdown. We just need to guard the (Philippine) border and enforce our health protocols since the virus is no match if we are careful and wear masks),” Año said.
The DILG chief maintained that the best defense against the virus is never to relax, observe the health protocols adding that there should be no get-together, reunion or similar festivities for now.
But Año’s constant appeal for the public to strictly adhere to quarantine protocols obviously fell on deaf ears as millions have defied the minimum health standard call of the government resulting in a spike of COVID-19 cases in the country this Holiday Season.

Source: Manila Bulletin (