The Philippines will prohibit travelers from Indonesia from entering the Philippines from July 16 to July 31, Malacañang announced on Wednesday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the travel ban was imposed to keep the Delta Covid-19 variant, which has caused a new wave of infections in Indonesia, from reaching the Philippines.

The Delta variant, first detected in India, has been found to be 60 percent more transmissible.

It could grow to be “more lethal” due to the efficiency in its transmission method, and “it will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalized and potentially die,” according to Dr. Mike Ryan of the World Health Organization.

The Philippines’ travel restrictions also prohibit passengers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates and Oman from entering the country.

According to local health authorities, there has been no local transmission of the Delta variant in the Philippines so far.

However, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire has said that the arrival of the variant was inevitable.

“[Health officials] think that the time will come when [Covid-19 variants] will reach the community. These strategies we are doing are just trying to buy us time so we can prepare and so that our systems and people will be ready,” she said on Monday. John Ezekiel J. Hirro