Palace assures public safety intensified as South African COVID-19 variant detected

Palace assures public safety intensified as South African COVID-19 variant detected
Artist’s rendition of the coronavirus disease.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang vowed to intensify health and safety protocols following the detection of the more transmissible South African variant of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said quarantine measures on travelers from other countries are still in place.

"We continue to intensify the implementation of health protocols and we continue our protocols for those who will enter the country," Roque said at a press briefing yesterday.

Roque reminded the public to continue wearing face masks, washing hands frequently, and observing physical distancing and to avail of COVID-19 vaccines once they are available. He said it does not make sense to wait for a vaccine that is not yet in the country.

"Now that the vaccine is here, why say no especially now that there are new variants, especially if you are a medical frontliner?" the Palace spokesman said.

Asked whether the presence of a new variant would lead to a tightening of quarantine classifications, Roque said it would depend on indicators like the two-week attack rate and the health care utilization rate.

"We are really monitoring this.We cannot deny that as long as COVID is there, more people will be infected. What is important is we are in a position to provide medical attention and help to those who are in need," Roque said.

Rontgene Solante, chief of the Adult Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine Unit of San Lazaro Hospital, said contact tracing would be very crucial especially for those who have been exposed to the South African variant.

"I think one of the reasons why they are now increasing the presence of vaccines in Pasay, because once you have this risk of increased transmissibility then you always have a lot of cases that will be reported in the next few days," he added.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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