By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has thrown its “unequivocal support” to President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to temporarily ban all flights from the United Kingdom over reports of a new coronavirus strain in the Western state.
The temporary travel ban on all flights from the UK will begin on Dec. 24 until Dec. 31, 2020.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said ensuring public health and safety takes precedence, even as the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) carefully reviews the restriction on the entry of foreign nationals into the country.
“With this temporary suspension, the DOT empathizes with the affected families who would not be able to spend the holidays with their loved ones from the UK,” the DOT said in a statement on Wednesday.
Under IATF-MEID Resolution No. 90, all passengers who travelled to the UK within the past two weeks immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those merely in transit, are also temporarily restricted from entering the country.
Reports showed that the coronavirus variant first identified in the UK was spreading 70 percent faster than others.
However, experts said existing vaccines will be effective in fighting off infection from new strains of coronavirus. (PNA)