Presidential tandem Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Dr. Willie Ong on Monday urged hospitals nationwide to prepare for the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Moreno lauded the Duterte administration for making vaccination a priority with the three-day national vaccination drive that will run until December 1.
“We in the City of Manila fully support the three-day national vaccination drive launched by the Duterte administration as this will be a big boost to the current vaccination efforts by local government units. We urge our people to have themselves vaccinated immediately in preparation for the new Omicron variant,” Moreno said.
He said all LGUs should prepare for Omicron, a variant said to be worse than Delta, and this would mean preparing hospital beds and securing antiviral drugs such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and the new drug Molnupiravir.
“We have to prepare since Omicron could be worse than Delta. We should have sufficient hospital beds and medicines. Vaccination needs to be accelerated, including opening booster shots for everyone who is six months after their second dose,” Moreno said.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer said the City of Manila is open to all COVID-19 patients outside Metro Manila, including those from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.
“As long as we can supply, we can give anti-COVID medicines such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Molnupiravir to patients needing those life-saving drugs in the provinces of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog. We did it before, we will do it again when our COVID situation worsens again,” the presidential aspirant said.
Under the mayor’s leadership, the City of Manila has long prepared for the pandemic, including the construction in record 52 days of the COVID-19 Field Hospital in front of the Quirino Grandstand.
Moreno also upgraded all district hospitals with modern equipment such as the Sta. Ana Hospital, which is now the city’s Infectious Disease Control Center complete with isolation wards for COVID patients.
Last week, 40,000 capsules of Molnupiravir were delivered to the Sta. Ana Hospital where there is sufficient storage space for the antiviral drug that is said to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death of COVID patients by 50 percent.
Ong, for his part, called on LGUs to strictly enforce the wearing of face masks among their constituents.
“This new variant with 13 mutations, the virus has really changed again. So when the virus changed, there were around 20 plus cases in South Africa that were vaccinated but were still hit by COVID. Also in Hong Kong, there were two hits there. Then, many countries immediately banned travel from South Africa,” he said.
“Why is this new virus dangerous? Because even if you are vaccinated, you can get hit. Because he has changed. So I call on the LGUs to continue imposing health protocols,” Ong said.