Duterte mulls closing PH borders amid COVID-19 Delta variant threat

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — The country's borders may be closed amid the rising cases of the Delta coronavirus variant, President Rodrigo Duterte disclosed to CNN Philippines in an exclusive phone call on Thursday night.

He said he will call for an emergency meeting with the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force and medical experts on Saturday. 

The chief executive said the government may impose more stringent measures compared to the existing protocols, but he wants to hear the input of medical experts first before coming up with a drastic decision.

Duterte said he is concerned about reports of how the highly contagious Delta variant has been affecting other countries like Australia and Indonesia.

He added that he is worried about the impact of the more aggressive and virulent mutation, saying the Philippines can no longer afford another wave of infections.

The Alliance of Health Workers earlier warned the Philippines will not be able to handle a severe impact of the dreaded coronavirus variant, similar to what Indonesia is experiencing.

The Philippines has an existing travel ban on Indonesia, India, and six other Middle East countries to prevent the entry and spread of the dreaded variant.

It is also considering imposing entry restrictions on travelers from Malaysia and Thailand.

The country has a total of 47 Delta variant cases, with three deaths and 23 locally acquired cases.

CNN Philippines correspondent Triciah Terada contributed to this report.