The Philippines has suspended the inbound travel of individuals from South Africa and six other countries over the threat of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

The travel ban, which took effect on Friday night, will last until Dec. 15, said acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles.

The travel ban covers the following countries:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Mozambique

Nograles said individuals who had been to the countries in the past 14 days would be subjected to a 14-day quarantine.

Omicron, or the B.1.1.529 variant, was declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It was first detected in South Africa.

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other [variants of concern],” the WHO said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro