The Philippines on Friday extended their temporary entry ban for some foreign travelers to include people from the United States after Florida became the third US state to identify an infection with the new, highly contagious variant of the coronavirus, first identified in the UK.
The Florida Department of Health announced Thursday that a man in his twenties in Martin County was the first identified case in the state for the variant. The man has no travel history, officials said in a statement on Twitter.
Other cases of the variant were identified in Colorado and California this week, and patients in these cases did not report traveling outside of the United States either. It is not known that those identified as B.1.1.7. Known variant of a more serious one leads to cases of Covid-19, but it has been found to be more transmissible than previous forms of the virus.
This could mean more infections where it circulates and more hospitalizations at a time when the United States, Britain and many other countries are already grappling with spikes in case numbers and expecting more from holiday gatherings and travel amid the pandemic.
Many countries have already restricted travel from the United States due to the staggering number of infections, the most common in the world. And many countries around the world have restricted travel from the UK since the new variant was discovered there. Some also put restrictions on travelers, including US residents who have visited the UK or other countries in the past few weeks where the variant was discovered.
On Tuesday, The Philippines said this would restrict entry to people who have traveled to 18 countries and Hong Kong after previously temporarily suspending entry from UK visitors.
Harry Roque, a spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, said in a statement that travelers who were in the United States within 14 days of arriving in the Philippines will be banned from entering the country from Sunday through January. 15th
Philippines citizens are allowed entry but are required to isolate themselves at home for 14 days even if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test.