MANILA, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines will bar the entry of foreign travelers from 19 more countries and regions until mid-January in order to ward off the new coronavirus strain first detected in Britain, the government announced on Tuesday.
The extended travel ban, which will start midnight of Dec. 30, covers China's Hong Kong region and 18 countries, which have already found the new coronavirus strain.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved "the additional measures in light of the new variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
Roque said the regulation applies to "all foreign travelers coming from or transiting through" the 19 countries and one region, or who have been to the same places mentioned within 14 days preceding arrival in the Philippines.
The Philippines initially barred travelers from Britain from Dec. 24 until Dec. 31, but the government extended the ban until Jan. 15, 2021.
The returning Filipino citizens arriving from the additional 19 places are excluded from the ban.
However, Filipinos need to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine at the designated facilities.
The Philippines has not detected the new coronavirus strain so far.
The Asian country now has 471,526 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 9,162 deaths.