MANILA – The government would tighten border restrictions to prevent the entry of the Lambda Covid-19 strain, which is still considered a “variant of interest,” according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday.
Duque stated in a Palace briefing that the Lambda strain, which apparently started in Peru and has spread to 35 Latin American countries, has not yet been discovered in the Philippines based on genome sequencing of the Philippine Genome Center from 7,000 samples.
The World Health Organization has not yet identified the Lambda strain as a “variant of concern,” according to Duque.
“So iyan po ang paigtingin natin, ang border control – ibig sabihin po nito (So in our assessment, the border control – meaning) 14-day quarantine – 10 in the government identified quarantine facility, test on the 7th day and completion of the remaining 4 days in their home, LGU (local government unit) or residents and of course iyong bio-surveillance natin na ginagawa ng Philippine Genome Center (the bio-surveillance that our Philippine Genome Center is doing),” Duque said.
He noted that all returning Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers must adhere to strict quarantine regulations, which include being quarantined for at least 10 days and conduct a swab test on the seventh day of their arrival.
Border controls, according to Duque, have been effective so far, notably against the highly contagious Delta strain, with no local cases or local transmission reported in the Philippines.
“So, kaya kinakailangan talaga bantayan po natin ito dahil baka biglang maging variant of concern. So, ano ang gagawin natin? Patuloy na paigtingin ang ating border control (So, we need to really monitor this because it might become variant of concern. So, what shall we do? Let’s continue intensifying our border control),” he said.