Whether the new strain of Covid-19 is already in the Philippines or not, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio stressed that Dabawenyos will follow the same standard health protocols being implemented by the city government of Davao.
The mayor also stressed that consistent strict enforcement of the said protocols is important with or without the threat of the new strain of Covid-19.
“We do not know kung naa na dinhi or wala pa ang new variant because genome sequencing is not regularly done before. Whatever the variant, protocols would be the same. More important ang consistent strict enforcement of the protocols,” she said in a text message.
She added that the strict implementation of the protocols does not depend on the presence of the new variant.
“It should be strict everyday whether or not naay bag-ong variant o wala because sa variant that we have before is dangerous enough for us to be strict everyday,” she said.
The Department of Health (DOH) issued a statement on January 13, 2021, confirming the detection of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant (UK variant) in the country after samples from a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results.
Meanwhile, Davao City Health Covid-19 focal person Dr. Ashley Lopez specimens of patients tested positive of Covid-19 this January were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to check if the new variant is already present in the said samples through genomic test and to ensure that these patients are not carriers of the new variant.
Lopez said this is in anticipation of the possible entry of new variant in Davao City,
“We have to submit specimens to RITM to perform genomic test para mahibal-an kung ang strain sa virus is a new variant or an original virus. We are submitting specimens tested this January to undergo the genomic test,” said Lopez.
On the other hand, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reported on January 15, 2021 that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has approved the recommendation to extend until January 31, 2021 the entry travel restrictions and the rules applicable to all travelers coming from or transiting through the following countries/jurisdictions: The United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, The Netherlands, The People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain, United States of America, Portugal, India, Finland, Norway, Jordan, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and Oman.