A group of physicians on Thursday urged the government to impose stricter restrictions on travelers from Malaysia and Thailand to prevent the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.
“Let’s tighten up their entry here,” Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, said in an interview with Teleradyo’s “On The Spot.”
“If the government wouldn’t do it, then what we should do is allow them to enter here but they should quarantine for 14 days. They must quarantine for a complete 14 days regardless of whether they’re vaccinated or not,” Limpin added.
The Philippine government recently imposed a travel ban until July 31 on travelers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Indonesia.
Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Wee on Thursday said he wrote a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the repatriation of Filipino workers from the Southeast Asian country despite the travel ban.
“We will need at least two flights,” he said in a television interview. “Most of our OFWs have expired working contracts.”
Malaysia and Thailand are fighting increasing coronavirus infections linked to the more contagious Delta variant.
On Wednesday, Malaysia reported 11,985 new COVID-19 cases, raising its tally to 951,884.
Meanwhile, Thailand is experiencing its worst COVID-19 outbreak, logging a daily record 13,002 coronavirus infections on Wednesday.
Limpin also called for standard border control measures across the country.
“Our border control should be standard wherever you go in the Philippines. We should not just leave it to the ways of LGUs. Some local chief executives don’t listen. They’re stubborn,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has raised Alert Level 4 in Myanmar due to worsening public health situation due to the surge in coronavirus cases there.
The DFA through the Philippine Embassy in Yangon said the alert level for Myanmar was raised by the DFA “to ensure the safety and welfare of the remaining Filipinos” there.
“Under Alert Level 4, the Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that Filipinos leave Myanmar as soon as possible, as the healthcare system in the country is close to reaching its maximum capacity and may not be able to provide adequate medical attention to Filipinos who become ill in the coming weeks,” the embassy said in a Facebook post.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration also imposed a total deployment ban for Myanmar-bound OFWs.
The POEA said the ban covers all Filipino workers, including crew changes and shore leaves of Filipino seafarers.
In June, the POEA temporarily prohibited the deployment of newly hired OFWs to Myanmar due to coup-related tensions.
However, Philippine Ambassador to Myanmar Eduardo Kapunan Jr. said the majority of Filipinos in Myanmar were not willing to go home despite the free repatriation assistance available to them.
Of the estimated 500 Filipinos in Myanmar, only around 150 registered with the embassy, with 59 willing to be repatriated.