Omicron variant entry to PH only 'a matter of when,' says Duque | Inquirer News
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Omicron variant entry to PH only ‘a matter of when,’ says Duque

/ 09:43 PM November 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — It’s not a matter of if, but a question of when.

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had this to say Monday night as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected overseas, prompting questions if it will be able to enter the Philippines as well.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Talagang ‘yan papasok ‘yan just as we experienced with Alpha, Beta, Delta, among the variant of concerns,” Duque said responding to President Rodrigo Duterte’s inquiry during the Talk to the People briefing.

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“Kinakailangan talaga pag-igtingin natin ang ating PDITR (Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate) strategy,” Duque added.

Nonetheless, Duque said there are three interventions that are needed to be emphasized to the public: compliance to the minimum public health standards, maintaining the trajectory of vaccination rate, and strengthening the health systems capacity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the Omicron variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a “very high” global risk where COVID-19 surges could have “severe consequences” in some areas.

“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said.

“The overall global risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron is assessed as very high,” it added.

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