The Philippines’ COVID-19 caseload has exceeded half-a-million, almost one year since the first infection of the coronavirus was reported in the country, the government says.
The Department of Health reported 1895 new infections on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 500,577.
There were also 11 additional deaths reported, pushing the death toll to 9895.
Health experts had predicted an increase in infections in the country following the Christmas and New Year holidays.
A more contagious strain of the coronavirus first detected in Britain has also been found in a 29-year-old Filipino real estate agent who travelled to Dubai with his girlfriend in December.
The government has banned the entry of foreign visitors from more than 30 countries where the British strain has been reported.
The ban will be in effect until the end of the month “to curb the spread of the variant in the country”, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
The ban covers visitors from Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, the United States, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Hungary.
Filipinos in these countries are allowed to return home, but would have to undergo a strict facility-based 14-day quarantine, even with a negative virus test result.