No need to reimpose tight border controls despite new Omicron subvariants — DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) does not recommend bringing back strict border controls in the Philippines, despite COVID-19 Omicron subvariants popping up in other countries.
The World Health Organization recently confirmed that cases of the new Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant had been detected in India, among other countries.
Meanwhile, an Omicron subvariant BA.5.2.1 infection has also been discovered in China, according to a Shanghai health official.
The DOH expects continuous mutation and transmission of COVID-19, but Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country “cannot remain [closed] forever.”
“Hindi natin nirerekomenda ang further restrictions sa ating borders because we have detected additional sub-variants in other countries. But we would like to remain vigilant. Our surveillance system is up. We are closely monitoring. We are prepared in our communities and even in our hospitals if and when magtuloy-tuloy ang pagtaas ng kaso dito sa ating bansa,” she said in a media briefing on Tuesday.
(We do not recommend further restrictions on our borders just because we have detected additional subvariants in other countries. But we would like to remain vigilant. Our surveillance system is up. We are closely monitoring. We are prepared in our communities and even in our hospitals if and when the number of cases continues to increase in the country.)
She also pointed out that the public has to learn to live with the virus and cannot remain inside a bubble for a long time.
“Hindi tayong pwedeng nakasara nang matagal na panahon dahil apektado lahat ng pamumuhay. Apektado ang ating mga kalusugan din because people are getting hungry.”
(We can’t close our borders for an extended period, because this affects many people’s lives, specifically in the aspect of health because people are getting hungry.)
To curb the effects of the new COVID-19 mutations, Vergeire said the country should maintain its low-risk classification level by keeping its severe and critical cases and hospital admissions at a minimum.
“This ensures us that we can continuously do our ‘better normal’ o iyong ating pamumuhay kahit na may mga impeksyon, because we know the virus is here to stay,” she added.
(This ensures us that we can continuously do our ‘better normal’ or our usual means of living even with reported infections because we know the virus is here to stay.)
The DOH earlier reported 79 new COVID-19 Omicron subvariant infections in the country. 60 cases were of the BA.5 sublineage, 17 were BA.2.12.1, and two were BA.4.
Among the said figure, Vergeire said 43 patients have already recovered, 14 remain under isolation, and three are still being verified.
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