DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday, December 8, that travelers who arrived in the country from South Africa from November 15 to 29 but remained not located may face charges for providing false or incorrect information on their arrival sheet.

“Kapag ito ay nahuli sila, masita sila, ay kakasuhan natin dahil hindi naman puwede ‘yung ganong naglalagay ka ng mga impormasyon na hindi tama, hindi totoo,” Duque said in radio interview.

(We will charge them once they are caught, because it’s not right to just provide false information.)

“Kagaya niyan, gusto mo mag backtracing, mahihirapan ka mag backtracing dahil hindi mo alam saan mo sila hahanapin ngayon. So pinapaimbestiga pa rin natin yan at tinitignan ano ang mga lead,” he added.

(Just like what’s happening now, you will have difficulty backtracing because you don’t know where to locate them. So, we are looking into it.)

The DOH said earlier that it is having difficulty finding eight travelers who came from South Africa where the Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), was detected.

So far, seven remained unaccounted for. They were among the over 250 travelers from the countries placed by the National Government under red list amid the threat of the Omicron variant.

They were all asked to undergo home quarantine while they are also being monitored by the local government units.

The countries where incoming flights have been suspended include Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique.

The DOH is yet to detect the highly mutated Omicron variant in the Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)