Go urges stricter travel restrictions to check spread of new COVID variant
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go wants the government to impose the strictest border control measures and travel restrictions to prevent the further spread of a new coronavirus variant that expert says is more infectious.
“We should already be prepared. Let’s not wait for it to spread, especially in our country,” Go said in Filipino in a Monday radio interview, according to a statement his office issued on Tuesday. “If there’s a report that there’s a new strain in one place, we don’t want it to get in here. We have learned our lessons.”
“We must consider imposing a strict travel ban for those whose country of origin is considered high-risk,” he added. “For me, once there’s a report of a new variant in another place, that’s already a red flag.”
To protect Filipinos from infection, Go said government response should be quicker than the spread of the virus.
There could only be one class of exception to stricter travel restrictions, he said.
“If there are people we would allow to get into the country, these are our countrymen OFWs,” he said.
The plight of Filipinos overseas, he said, was pitiful.
“They have lost their jobs, and its already the Christmas and New Year season. Let’s take good care of them,” he said.
Health protocols would still have to be followed, he added.
The government must make sure that returning OFWs are negative for the disease.
A new variant of the coronavirus was discovered in the United Kingdom in mid-September and has become the dominant variant of the coronavirus in many parts of that country.
According to Go’s statement, the new variant is 71 percent more transmissible.
“However, there is no evidence that suggests it is more fatal. The UK variant has spread rapidly across Europe with Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands reporting new infections. Australia and Singapore have also reported cases of the said variant,” the statement said.
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