THE Philippines has extended the travel ban on India and six other countries until July 31 amid the threat of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variants, Malacañang announced on Wednesday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the extension, which covers India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman.

The IATF likewise directed its technical working group to further study and give its recommendations on the proper testing and quarantine protocols for incoming travelers from these countries, as well as other nations considered as "high risk" for Covid-19, Roque said.

The announcement came a day before the travel restrictions, imposed to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant, are set to lapse.

This is the fifth time the country has extended travel restrictions on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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The travel ban on India was first imposed from April 29 to May 15.

The extended travel ban came after health authorities worldwide raised the alarm on Lambda, a Covid-19 variant that has spread rapidly through parts of South America.

The Delta variant, first detected in India, has been found in some 100 countries.

Local health authorities, however, said there was no local case yet of the Delta variant in the Philippines.