BOQ monitoring 64 travelers from 'red-list' countries amid Omicron | Inquirer News
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BOQ monitoring 64 travelers from ‘red-list’ countries amid Omicron

/ 01:07 PM December 02, 2021

(FILE) An employee of the Bureau of Quarantine in Subic Bay Freeport releases an International Certificate of Vaccination or “yellow card” for international travel. (Photo courtesy of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority)

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) is now monitoring 64 travelers who recently arrived in the Philippines before inbound flights from their countries of origin were temporarily banned by the government, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Thursday.

“For all of those travelers who have come into the country, we have about 64 individuals who are now currently being monitored by the Bureau of Quarantine,” Vergeire told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

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“What we have as a protocol would be that all returning overseas Filipinos when they come in the country and they test positive, we send them for sequencing,” she added.

Vergeire said the Philippine Genome Center is still processing the latest batch of COVID-19 samples for sequencing. She said the results may be out on Friday or Saturday.

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“Based on our results for sequencing, we still have not detected this Omicron variant. We are still processing samples for this week and maybe Friday or Saturday we will get results already,” the health official said.

“What we are doing right now is prioritizing also returning overseas Filipinos in our sequencing runs so we will be able to better see if we have the Omicron here in the country or not,” Vergeire noted.

The Philippines earlier suspended inbound flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy from November 28 to December 15 because of the Omicron variant threat.

South African scientists who discovered the Omicron variant said it has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, which are concerning as they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make the virus more transmissible.

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TAGS: Bureau of Quarantine, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Maria Rosario Vergeire, Omicron variant, travel ban
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