Duterte cancels face-to-face classes pilot implementation due to new COVID variant
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday announced that he is recalling his approval of the education sector’s proposal to conduct face-to-face classes pilot implementation due to the threat of the new COVID variant believed to be more infectious.
“I have allowed kasi the face-to-face classes as a pilot project all over the country. With the new variant, true or not, maybe its true because it’s being validated by Germany, South Africa, UK eh iyong order ko noon kay (Education Secretary Leonor) Briones, I’m calling back the order,” Duterte said in a meeting with Cabinet officials and infectious disease experts.
“I will not allow face-to-face classes for children until we are through with this,” he added.
The pilot implementation was supposed to be conducted in areas deemed low-risk to coronavirus infection from Jan. 11 to 23.
Classes resumed nationwide on Oct. 5 with schools utilizing distance learning modality— a combination of online and modular learning—as campuses stay closed and physical classes remain suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new coronavirus variant was first detected in the United Kingdom.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced stricter restrictions in his country after experts found a more infectious variant of coronavirus, which, he said, “maybe up to 70 percent more transmissible than the earlier variant.”
Almost immediately, several countries imposed a travel ban on the United Kingdom, including Canada, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, and Germany to prevent the entry of the new variant. The new variant has also reportedly entered Singapore.
The Philippines has also suspended flights from the UK starting Dec. 24 until Dec. 31.
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