At least two Catholic bishops in the Philippines supported the government’s decision to extend travel restrictions to countries with the new COVID-19 strain.
“If it can help, I guess they have to seriously consider that … for the common good,” said Bishop Oscar Florencio of the Military Ordinariate.
Bishops Ruperto Santos of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People said the current situation demands that “our government should extend the travel ban.”
“All should be protected, health and safety must be promoted,” said the prelate. “We have to be more careful, be extra cautious and strictly follow the [health] protocols,” he said.
“The coronavirus has no boundaries, affects all and is not weakening down. It is still very strong, contagious,” he said.
The Philippines has extended until the end of the month a ban on all travelers from 32 countries earlier included in the restriction to halt the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.
The restrictions were supposed to end on January 15 but the inter-agency task force leading the country’s pandemic response extended the ban until January 31.
The ban now also covers returning Filipinos, not just foreign travelers as in the previous order.
The ban will be extended in the following areas:
China (including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)
The Department of Health announced this week that it would also recommend prohibiting the entry of foreign travelers from the United Arab Emirates after a Filipino who flew home from the Gulf country became the Philippines’ first case of the new COVID-19 variant.