Philippines re-imposes entry restrictions amid Covid-19 surge

© Oliver Haynes/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa

dpa/GNA – The Philippines on Wednesday announced new travel restrictions for foreigners as authorities scrambled to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases amid a slow immunization drive.

Starting Saturday, the entry of foreigners will again be suspended until April 19, and only returning overseas Filipino workers will be allowed to come home.

The inbound number of returning Filipino workers will be limited to 1,500 a day, according Secretary Carlito Galvez, head of the government’s anti-Covid-19 task force.

“These are among the measures that were agreed upon during the emergency meeting of the task force,” he said.

“We shall be implementing these as soon as possible to contain local transmissions.”

Galvez said the government was also ramping up the distribution of face masks to the public, especially the vulnerable sectors.

“These masks are our first line of defense against the disease and must be worn at all times when outdoors,” he added.

The Philippines’ Covid-19 caseload totalled 631,320 as of Tuesday, with the Department of Health reporting 4,437 additional coronavirus infections. The death toll was up 11 to 12,848.

The Philippines has so far acquired over 1.125 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which have been given to 215,997 people, mostly health care workers.

Galvez said the government was expecting more than 6 million dollars worth of vaccines to be delivered this month and in April.

The government aims to inoculate 70 per cent of the estimated 110 million Filipinos by the end of the year, he added.

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