74 overseas travelers checked for new Covid-19 variant

By Kris Crismundo  

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The samples of 74 overseas travelers positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are being examined at the Philippine Genome Center and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine to detect the new variant of coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious. In a Palace briefing Tuesday, National Task Force Against Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Vivencio Dizon said out of the 3,684 individuals who returned to the Philippines between Dec. 22, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021, some 74 were tested positive for Covid-19. This translates to a positivity rate of 2 percent. Despite 3,610 individuals being negative for the disease, Dizon said they still need to be quarantined for 14 days. “The positivity rate is low, but we cannot really afford to increase the risk for our countrymen here in the Philippines, so even those who tested negative we must quarantine them for 14 days,” he said in Filipino. Dizon added the government has to implement the mandatory 14-day quarantine for overseas travelers arriving in the country to prevent entry of the new Covid-19 variant. The government also imposed temporary travel restrictions from travelers from 21 countries. These include the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, the United States, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, and Germany. Meanwhile, Dizon said there are 120 hotels in the country accredited to host travelers for their mandatory quarantine. Those two- and three-star hotels are for free, while those who will opt for four- and five-star hotels shall shoulder their accommodation expenses. Among the free hotels are Nice Hotel in Caloocan City, Summit Ridge in Tagaytay, Canyon Cove in Batangas, and Apollonia Royale Hotel in Pampanga. Hotels at expense of travelers include Ascott and Discovery Primea in Makati City, Conrad Hotel in Pasay City, Seda Vertis North in Quezon City, and Quest Hotel in Tagaytay. (PNA)

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