HOUSE Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera has urged the government to tighten its guard against the new variant of the coronavirus currently circulating in South Africa and its neighboring countries.
“This new coronavirus variant is a reminder for all of us that this pandemic is far from over, and we hope the authorities will double their efforts to prevent its entry into the Philippines,” Herrera said.
The new variant named Omicron already has a hold in South Africa and cases have been found in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Although the Philippines has already imposed travel restrictions on travelers from South Africa and nearby countries, Herrera said the government must be ready to take extra measures to prevent Omicron being imported.
“Authorities must put additional control measures in place, including enhanced contact tracing, rapid testing and isolation, in all ports of entry nationwide,” Herrera said.
Herrera said a much faster system should be in place to respond to the new variants and a possible rise in COVID-19 cases in the future while the government’s vaccination program is still being rolled out.
“Hindi dapat tayo malusutan ng Omicron dahil maaaring mawalan ng saysay ang ating mga paghihirap at pagtitiis lalo na sa paulit-ulit na lockdown mula noong isang taon. Dapat ay bantay-sarado na tayo sa nakababahalang variant na ito. We cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes all over again,” she added.