On Tuesday, April 27, Malacañang recently imposed a travel ban from India despite Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III’s ‘not worried’ about the Philippines reaching one million Covid-19 cases.
Before the Palace released its statement regarding the ban, Duque said, no imposed travel ban since Duterte’s initiative is to allow all returning OFWs to return to the Philippines.
“The Philippine Genome Center has not reported to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) whether this has evolved to become a variant of concern (VOC). This is still considered a variant under investigation,” Duque told CNN Philippines.
“We’ll take this up in the IATF [meeting] — the matter of returning OFWs who might be coming from India… There’s no [ban] on our OFWs because the policy on returning OFWs upon the directive of the President, they must be allowed to travel back home.”
But hours after his statement, President Rodrigo Duterte, through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque accepted the recommendation of the IATF to ban all inbound flights from India, which will start from April 29 and will end on May 14.
“Inaprubahan po ng ating Presidente ang rekomendasyon ng IATF na i-ban ang lahat ng pasahero, kasama ang mga Pilipino, na galing sa India. Ang ban ay magiging epektibo ng 1 o’clock sa April 29 hanggang May 14 2021,” announced Roque.
— Joyce Balancio (@joycebalancio) April 27, 2021
With Malacañang taking it to themselves to announce the ban before the DOH, several personalities and Netizens lauded the government for announcing such a restriction while taking a jab at the Health Secretary.
Former health adviser Dr. Tony Leachon looked for Duque after Malacañang announced the travel ban.
F I N A L L Y.
Where’s Sec. Duque ? https://t.co/YNDutThQyE
— Tony Leachon MD (@DrTonyLeachon) April 27, 2021
DZBB Super Radyo host Rowena Salvacion expressed a sigh of relief with the recent announcement from the Government.
Sa wakas! https://t.co/chPzaa7hks
— Rowena L. Salvacion (@wengsalvacion) April 27, 2021
Journalist Kristofer Purnell took a swipe at Duque for claiming that the Indian variant of Covid-19 was not yet “of concern.”
Purnell also expressed his opinion regarding the travel ban in which he is sure that it would extend for more than 14 days.
Earlier D/uque said the "double-mutant" COVID-19 variant found in India—which is logging record-high cases daily—wasn't yet "a variant of concern"
Now they're putting a travel ban of 14 days (also likely they'll keep extending it because what is 14 days really) https://t.co/lEdzgqFOdv
— Kristofer Purnell (@kjpurneII) April 27, 2021
A Netizen commended the Government’s decision instead of waiting for the new variant to enter the country before imposing such a ban.
Ayan! Ganyan! Hindi yung hihintayin niyo pang andito na yung virus! https://t.co/dU2SYLdr0a
— Kate (@missphalange__) April 27, 2021
Meanwhile, a Netizen “believed” Duque’s earlier statement and now demands an explanation as to why Duterte signed the recommendation of the IATF to bar flights from India.
What's the reason? I thought as per DOH Secretary it is not yet considered as 'a variant of concern'. Hmmmmm… 🤔🧐 @jamalxjunior
— FrancisGabrienVaron✈ (@coyxxx) April 27, 2021
Another Netizen pointed out that this recommendation from the IATF was due to the public’s outcry to impose a travel ban.
Lol parang kanina lang sabi ni Duque hindi ito concern at the moment??? Kailangan pang magreklamo ng netizens bago kumilos? Walang kusa??? https://t.co/uMNSuuHbjT
— Kath E. ᥫᩣᰃ (@kathlynguinto) April 27, 2021
But with the imposition of the travel ban, which will be on the 29th of April. Several Netizens questioned why that specific date when it could be deemed “effective immediately”.
Bakit sa 29 pa? 🤷 Magpapasalamat na sana ako for the immediate response https://t.co/L0QVuzkW7X
— Tin (@tinyapyuco) April 27, 2021
Eh bat sa 29 pa? Pano yung mga arrivals bukas kung meron man? 🤦♂️ https://t.co/LfwMBpjnfY
— Ron (@Ron4Short) April 27, 2021
Twitter personality Karen Claridad concluded that the reason why the effectivity of the travel ban is on the 29th of April is that the new variant probably is in the country already.
It’s probably here. Bulagaan na naman! https://t.co/0fbp5sKC0z
— karen claridad (@k_claridad) April 27, 2021
In the meantime, Roque further announced that those already on their way before the effectivity of the travel ban will not be included in the restriction. However, they will be subjected to a facility-based quarantine even if they tested negative with their PCR tests.
“Yung mga pasaherong nasa transit na galing India o yung mga nanggaling sa India within 14 days bago dumating ang April 29 ay hindi sakop ng travel ban. Pero kinakailangan nilang mag-undergo ng mas striktong quarantine and testing protocols. Yung absolute facility-based quarantine for 14 days kahit na meron silang negative na resulta sa PCR,” said Roque.