To prevent entry of new COVID strain
SENATOR Joel Villanueva on Tuesday stressed the need to temporarily ban travelers from Europe following the spread of a more infectious COVID-19 strain.
“We should act quickly and temporarily ban travelers from Europe. This is to ensure the new strain doesn’t spread here,” Villanueva said in a message to Senate reporters.
“EU nag-ban na, delikado talaga. Nasa huli ang pagsisisi,” he added.
Meanwhile, the senator is still optimistic that the government can still secure vaccines that can be distributed to Filipinos.
“Our neighboring countries are managing to secure the best vaccines under negotiated terms. Naniniwala pa rin ako sa kakayahan nating mga Pinoy,” he explained.
“Huwag sana nating maliitin ang sarili natin. There are also global calls for just distribution of the vaccine. We have to support this movement,” the senator further stressed.
No new strain in PH
Meanwhile, a health official said Monday there is no new strain of coronavirus in the country based on the latest report of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
“According to RITM, sa ngayon wala pa silang nakikitang bagong strain na mayroon tayo dito sa ating bansa based on their monitoring,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during an online media forum.
Vergeire was responding to speculations that the “mutation” of a Covid-19 virus, which caused the second wave of cases in the United Kingdom (UK), is similar to the variant the Philippine Genome Center has detected in August.
“But of course we will be furthering this monitoring baka nga kung sakali kailangan natin mapag-igting para kung mayroon mang ganyan dito sa ating bansa ma-identify natin,” she said.
Based on preliminary data, the variant detected in the UK could be up to 70 percent more infectious and has become a prevalent strain in its capital.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said it is analyzing Britain’s data to see if the increase of infections there is the result of a more potent strain.
Vergeire noted that the UK has already imposed travel restrictions on its borders.
“Dito naman po sa ating bansa, ang ating pinapapasok pa lang natin dito sa ngayon ay diplomats and those with official businesses here in the country,” she said.
“So, the restriction, I don’t think that would be required at this point, although, of course, we are strengthening our measures to prevent the entrance of infection here that’s why the monitoring of ports with the testing with the quarantine of all those coming in are being implemented,” she added.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that the country’s overall Covid-19 case tally has reached 461,505; the recovered cases, 429,207; and deaths at 8,957.
Since last week, the DOH has been warning the public against the possible surge of cases this holiday season as many people engage in celebrations with family and friends outdoors, attend Simbang Gabi, and visit night markets.
The agency continues to encourage the public to have safe holidays by observing the minimum health standards, especially when going outdoors – the proper wearing of face masks and face shields, avoiding cramped places where physical distancing is impossible and avoiding staying outside for a long period. With Philippine News Agency