Duque urges strict border control to prevent entry of Lambda variant | Inquirer News
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Duque urges strict border control to prevent entry of Lambda variant

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 12:41 PM July 06, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — While the Lambda COVID-19 variant is still not tagged as a “variant of concern,” the government will still enforce strict border controls to prevent it from entering the country, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured Tuesday.

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At present, the Lambda variant, which was first detected in Peru and has so far spread to 35 countries including Latin America, has not yet been detected in the country, Duque said.

This is based on the genome sequencing report by the Philippine Genome Center, which used over 7,000 samples of COVID-19 patients.

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The Lambda variant is only still a “variant of interest,” a World Health Organization official earlier said.

“Kinakailangan talaga bantayan natin ito dahil baka biglang maging variant of concern. Ang gagawin ay patuloy na paigtingin ang border control para makasiguro na hindi ito makalusot,” he said in a press briefing.

(We need to monitor this because this could be elevated as a variant of concern. We would continue enforcing strict border controls to make sure that this will not enter the country.)

All returning overseas Filipinos must still follow strict quarantine protocol upon arriving in the country, he added.

Duque said border controls are so far effective, especially against the highly contagious Delta variant first detected in India since there is still no reported local case or local transmission case in the country.

So far, the DOH reported 19 cases of the Delta variant and all were detected in Philippine borders.

Returning overseas Filipinos must undergo a strict 14-day quarantine, where they will stay for 10 days in government quarantine facilities and they will be tested for COVID-19 on the 7th day and if they turned out to be negative, they will finish their quarantine at home.

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Duque said the government will also continue its strict biosurveillance of variants.

For Malacañang’s part, when asked if the government will impose travel bans to countries with reported cases of the Lambda strain, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government will monitor developments of the variant and “will act accordingly.”

However, he noted that there is no direct flight to the Philippines from Latin America.

The Health Ministry of Malaysia earlier said that the Lambda variant, which is believed to be more dangerous than the Delta variant, has been detected in more than 30 countries in the past four weeks.

EDV

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TAGS: border control, Department of Health, Lambda variant, variant of concern
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