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Abante: Ban flights from countries with new strain

A HIGH-RANKING House leader on Monday urged the government to ban the flights from countries that have the new strain of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Deputy Speaker and Manila Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante, Jr. stressed it was the prudent course of action with the government yet to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to the public and with limited financial resources to deal with another round of community lockdown.

“I believe that at this point, it would be safer for us to do with an ounce of prevention, because we do not have a pound of cure on hand,” Abante said.

The new variant of the COVID-19 was discovered in the United Kingdom, and is reportedly as much as 70% more infectious than the original virus.

In response, President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte has ordered the temporary suspension of incoming flights from the UK.

According to Abante, “there are reported infections of the new variant in Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, and Japan.”

“All these cases can be traced to infected individuals who came from the UK. Rather than wait until there is evidence of local transmission in these areas before banning flights from these countries, it should be the other way around––let us wait until there is evidence that the new variant has been contained in these countries before allowing people to fly in from there,” said Abante.

Abante pointed out that the country could not afford another surge of infections as a new round of lockdowns “would stretch the government’s already limited financial resources.”

“Government is loaning billions of pesos to finance the procurement of vaccines as we need more funds to pay for them. If we are forced to again implement lockdowns, we may not have the funds needed to provide financial assistance to our countrymen who will be forced to stay home and not work. ‘Wag na natin hintayin magka-local transmission bago mag-ban ng flights; by the time we do that it may be too late, nakalipad na dito. Mas mabuti na sobrang mag-ingat ngayon, kaysa magsisi sa huli,” he said.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight