PH ‘VERY CAREFUL’ AGAINST B.1.617
Malacañang assured the public that the government is exhausting all efforts to contain the spread of the Indian variant
MANILA – The Philippine government remains “very careful” to control the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant first detected in India.
This, after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the detection of India’s Covid-19 variant in the Philippines.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured the public that the government is exhausting all efforts to contain the spread of the Indian variant.
“Matindi naman po ‘yung ating pagiingat (We are being very careful),” Roque said. “Ginagawa natin ang lahat para po mapigilan ang pagpasok ng variant na ito (We are doing everything to stop the entry of this variant).”
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a separate online press briefing, said at least two cases of India’s “double mutant” B.1.617 variant has been reported in the Philippines.
The two individuals infected with Covid-19 variant from India are both male overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Vergeire said.
One of the two patients is a 37-year-old OFW from Oman, while the other one is a 58-yearold OFW from the United Arab Emirates.
Dr. Alethea De Guzman, director of the Department of Health’s Epidemiology Bureau, said the two B.1.617 variant-infected OFWs have no close contacts and already recovered from the coronavirus disease.
Roque said the country has not reported community transmission of the new variant from India.
The Philippine government has imposed travel restrictions on travelers from India until May 14, to prevent the entry of the new variant that is responsible for New Delhi’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
The Philippines has expanded the coverage of the travel ban by also prohibiting travelers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to enter the country until May 14.
The Indian subcontinent covers India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, and the island nations of Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Returning Filipinos from India and Indian subcontinent where travel restrictions are currently implemented need to follow strict health and quarantine protocols, Roque said.
“So lahat po ng nais umuwi mula sa India, ipagbigay alam niyo lang po sa ating embahada at meron naman pong mga hakbang na ginagawa para ma-repatriate sila. Pero kapag narepatriate po sila, intindihin niyo po you will be subjected to very strict quarantine requirements (For those who want to return home from India, just tell the embassy and necessary measures are being undertaken for your repatriation. But you must understand that you will be subjected to very strict quarantine requirements),” he said. /
Matindi naman po ‘yung ating pagiingat. Ginagawa natin ang lahat para po mapigilan ang pagpasok ng variant na ito.”
HARRY ROQUE Presidential Spokesperson