MANILA – The Philippine government is expected to impose a strict quarantine protocol for returning Filipinos arriving from India once flights from the Asian nation to Manila resume.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said this is to ensure that the variant first detected in India, dubbed as the “double mutant” strain, would not spread in the country.
“I must warn you, even if flights are resumed; the quarantine requirements for them will be especially hard, long, and strict. We can’t afford to get the variant,” he said over Twitter Tuesday.
Locsin also lauded the Filipinos in India who created chat groups per area not only to collate help and communicate directly with the Embassy but also to have virtual community spaces where they can pray together while their host nation is confronted with a massive coronavirus outbreak.
Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing Jr. said around 60 to 70 Filipinos are requesting repatriation from the Embassy, although they would have to wait until flights resume.
“We currently have a travel ban and other countries have also declared a travel ban so as soon as these are lifted, we will have to make plans to repatriate them,” he said in a CNN Philippines interview.
Bagatsing said the Embassy is looking forward to the resumption of commercial flights and is also considering chartering or requesting special flights from the Philippine military.
“We’re looking at the resumption of flights, we’re also looking at chartering flights, or having our military to have some flights to the Philippines, you know, make rounds to get Filipinos here,” he added.
About 3,000 Filipinos are residing in India, most of whom are housewives and professionals in managerial positions.
At present, there are at least 73 Filipinos who have caught coronavirus disease 2019 in India, but Bagatsing said the majority are only mild or moderate cases. (PNA)