MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has not changed his stance about allowing Filipinos to return home, despite cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Duterte is still pushing for the unhindered return of all Filipinos.
“Para kay Pangulong Duterte, mga kapwa natin Pilipino ‘yan. Kung gusto nila umuwi, karapatan po nila umuwi sa ating bansa. Hindi natin pipigilan ang kapwa natin Pilipino maka-uwi sa atin. Unfair po yan para sa kapwa natin Pilipino kung pipigilan natin sila umuwi (For President Duterte, they are our fellow Filipinos. If they want to return home, it is their right. We cannot stop our fellowmen from returning. That’s unfair to them),” Nograles said in a radio interview on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 55 new cases of the Delta variant, increasing the overall number of infections in the country to 119.
The cases were from the most recent batch of samples sequenced by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center.
Nograles told the public that the national government has established testing and quarantine protocols.
“May protocols naman tayo in place. At ang ibig po sabihin ng protocols natin, itong 10-day quarantine para sa mga countries na non-green countries or non-green jurisdictions. Tapos swab test sa seventh day (We have protocols in place. These include a 10-day quarantine from those coming from non-green countries or non-green jurisdictions. And then they get swabbed on the seventh day),” he added.
Green countries and jurisdictions are those designated as “low risk” by the DOH based on disease incidence rate.
Travelers from green countries and jurisdictions who are fully vaccinated must bring official documentation of complete vaccination.
According to Nograles, present testing and quarantine methods are “effective” in limiting the spread of the new variant.
Previously, Duterte stated that he is considering stricter health measures against the Delta variant.
“The reported local cases in the country is a cause for serious alarm and concern. Again it’s redundant but it’s good as any warning that can be given to people. We may need to impose stricter restrictions to avoid mass gathering and prevent superspreader events,” he said in his July 19 public address.
There are 37 local cases and 17 returning overseas Filipinos among the new Delta variant infections.
The Delta coronavirus variant was discovered in India and was determined to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant (identified in the United Kingdom).
According to sources, Delta caused the increase in Covid-19 cases in other nations.