Go repeats call for stricter measures to prevent entry of new COVID-19 variant
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go repeated on Monday his call for stricter measures to prevent the entry of the COVID-19 variant into the country.
“Let’s not allow it to get in and spread in our country,” Go said in Filipino, harking back to an interview he gave last Dec. 29 after he led the distribution of aid to those affected by Tropical Depression Victy in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur.
“Let me repeat: We have learned our lessons in the past nine months,” he added. “What I mean is: Have we learned nothing in those nine months? We have learned a lot, and I‘m sure our government, the IATF, is doing everything.”
Go was referring to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
He recommended putting in place strict border control and necessary travel restrictions in seaports, especially after neighboring Sabah state in Malaysia reported the presence of another new COVID-19 variant.
Sabah is just 29 hours by boat from the Sulu archipelago in Mindanao.
“Let’s tighten up our borders – not only at airports but also at seaports,” he said. “We should be strict, as strict as possible. The government has to impose stricter measures and we should not be overconfident.”
The Philippines already suspended all flights from the United Kingdom starting on December 24 until the middle of January. The ban has been expanded to cover 21 countries.
Go emphasized, however, that overseas Filipino workers covered by the travel ban must be properly assisted and supported, especially those who had lost jobs and had nowhere to go but back home in the Philippines.
President Rodrigo Duterte has recently approved a proposal from the IATF-EID to impose travel restrictions on territories with reported cases of the new COVID-19 variant.
Ending the interview, Go continued to assure public that once a vaccine could be proven safe and effective, poor and vulnerable sectors would be prioritized first, together with frontliners.
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