A scene at the Manila Airport Terminal 1 on January 6, 2021 A scene at the Manila Airport Terminal 1 on January 6, 2021. Image Credit: Jay Hilotin / Gulf News

Manila: Travellers entering the Philippines will be required to undergo 14 days of quarantine, up from a week previously, as authorities try to contain more infectious coronavirus variants, the presidential spokesman said on Friday.

The new controls will apply regardless of whether a visitor has been vaccinated and the first 10 days of quarantine will be in a government-accredited facility and the remainder at home, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a briefing.

Visitors will get a COVID-19 test on the seventh day after arrival, but will still be required to complete a 10-day stay in a facility even if they test negative, Roque said.

The Southeast Asian country is battling one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia with more than a million infections, including those caused by variants first detected in Britain and South Africa, and more than 18,000 deaths.

In a bid to prevent the entry of a variant first identified in India, the Philippines has temporarily barred travellers coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh from entering the country.

The new controls come after five passengers arriving in the last month with a travel history to India tested positive for COVID-19. Samples had been taken in order to do genome sequencing, the health ministry has said.

The Philippines also allowed a container ship with a travel history to India to dock on Thursday to provide medical assistance to 12 of the 21 Filipino crew members who tested positive for COVID-19.

Out of the 12, two were in critical condition and had to be evacuated to a medical facility for treatment, while the others were receiving care on the ship, the transport ministry said on Friday.

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