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Philippines extends travel ban for 10 countries as Delta Variants spreads

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The Philippines has extended the ban on travellers from India and nine other countries until the end of August due to concerns over the highly contagious Delta variant of the Coronavirus, a presidential spokesperson said on Friday.

Authorities in the Philippines are scrambling to contain an increase in Coronavirus cases to a four-month high, with infections above 12,000 for the second straight day on Thursday and hospitals nearing capacity in some areas, according to reports by reuters

The travel ban has been extended several times and expanded to include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte approved the recommendation of the coronavirus task force to extend the travel restrictions from Aug. 16 to Aug. 31.

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Manila’s capital region, an urban sprawl of sixteen cities that is home to 13 million people, remains under a strict lockdown to contain the spread of Delta, even as the government steps up vaccination efforts.

Despite about 11% of the country’s 110 million people being fully immunized, millions remain highly vulnerable to COVID-19, which has killed over 29,500 people in the Southeast Asian country.

The number of cases in the capital region has surged, and hospitals have reported their isolation beds, intensive care units and wards have reached full capacity, and some have turned away new patients due to a shortage of beds and ventilators.

(Reuters)

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