MANILA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines will ban international arrivals from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) starting Saturday amid concerns over the new coronavirus variant first detected in India, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday.
"All travelers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or those with travel history to these two countries within the last 14 days preceding arrival shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines beginning 00:01 of May 15, 2021, until 23:59 of May 31, 2021," Roque said in a statement.
But passengers already in transit from these two countries and all those who have been to these countries "within 14 days immediately preceding arrival to the Philippines" who arrive before May 15, 2021, will be allowed entry, Roque said.
He added that these travelers "shall be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols."
Meanwhile, Roque said the Philippines has decided to retain the travel ban on India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for another two weeks until May 31.
The Philippines has detected the B.1.617 variants first found in India in two seafarers that arrived from Oman and the UAE last month.
There are four coronavirus variants of concern in the Philippines. The WHO classified the B.1.617 as "a variant of concern at a global level," citing "some available information to suggest increased transmissibility."
The Philippines now has 1,124,724 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 18,821 deaths.