Malacañang on Wednesday said the Philippine government was closely observing the situation in the US, where a new and more infectious strain of coronavirus had been reported.

US media outfits said on Wednesday (PH time) the new coronavirus variant was found in Colorado.

According to a New York Times report, the virus was spotted in a man in his 20s with no travel history.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte had yet to impose restrictions on travelers from the US and that a recommendation for the ban would have to be made by the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said the Philippines would only close its borders to countries where local transmission of the new coronavirus variant had been recorded.

The Philippines has imposed a travel ban on flights from the United Kingdom and other countries where the virus strain was detected, up to Jan. 15, 2020.

The travel ban also covered the following countries:

  1. Denmark
  2. Ireland
  3. Japan
  4. Australia
  5. Israel
  6. The Netherlands
  7. Hong Kong, SAR
  8. Switzerland
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. Iceland
  12. Italy
  13. Lebanon
  14. Singapore
  15. Sweden
  16. South Korea
  17. South Africa
  18. Canada
  19. Spain

The Philippines has recorded 472,532 Covid-19 cases as of Dec. 30. John Ezekiel J. Hirro