"The danger from this new mutation is all too real."
We know the government is now busy trying to procure for our people the most suitable COVID vaccines for the right price.
Meanwhile, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH) should immediately inform the public of the government plan to combat the threat of COVID variants, “the New Monster” as President Duterte describes them.
Filipinos, particularly Metro Manila residents who are most prone to imported diseases, would want to know the action plan in response to the emergence of COVID variants in the country.
The IATF has imposed inbound travel restriction on foreign nationals from 35 countries until January 31, 2021 after the first case of COVID-UK variant was detected a week ago on a male Filipino tourist who returned with his girlfriend from Dubai, UAE.
Note, however, that UAE was not among the 31 countries on the travel ban list at that time.
Filipinos who have traveled from countries affected by COVID-UK variants are required to go on a 14-day quarantine in an isolation facility.
The Quezon City man who was found positive for COVID-UK variant took the mandatory RT-PCR test at the NAIA, along with his girlfriend, but they did not undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Contact-tracing is now being conducted to test some 140 individuals with whom the infected man was in contact since he arrived in the country.
People want to be assured that the government agencies, particularly the DOH, are taking steps to mitigate the multiplier effects of COVID British and South African variants.
Health experts say the coronavirus mutations that have reached the Philippines are more easily contagious and just as deadly as the SARS-COV2 or COVID-19.
This is why I support a House Resolution proposed by the ACT-CIS Party-list urging the government to extend indefinitely and expanding the restriction on non-essential or leisure travels of foreigners in the country.
It will be recalled that the outbreak of novel coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei, China in December 2019 swiftly spread to Europe and Southeast Asia through person-to-person transmission among international tourists.
We posted the first COVID-19 death outside China when the tourist from Wuhan City died in the care of the DOH Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
And then our unpreparedness took its toll, and our miserably ill-equipped healthcare system was simply overwhelmed by the local COVID-19 epidemic.
We wish these COVID pandemic crises were like tropical typhoons that might suddenly change direction and leave on its own.
Now, do we even have the appropriate kits for mass testing for the new COVID mutations?
Warning people of possible lockdown is just not enough.
The DOH must effectively educate the public on the emerging infectious diseases at the grassroots level and explain the health and economic repercussions of a massive surge of new COVID cases.
Secretary Francisco Duque III and company must get their act together in the face of the New Monster. Its specter is all too real.