Bong Go asks health execs to study raising alert level with Omicron in Philippines

Senator Bong Go on Wednesday urged health officials and experts to study the possibility of raising the alert level status in the country after the Philippines reported its first two cases of new Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Sa mga health officials at experts, pag-aralan dapat kung kailangang itaas ang alert status. Balansehin nang mabuti, lalo na ngayong magpa-Pasko na at tradisyong magkakasama ang magkakapamilya,” said Go, chair of the Senate health and demography committee.

[To our health officials and experts, please look into the possibility of raising the alert status. Let’s balance the situation especially now that the Christmas is fast approaching and it is part of the tradition for families to gather.]

He appealed to the public to remain vigilant as COVID-19 remains a threat.

“Delikado pa talaga. Kailangang patuloy lang tayong maging alerto at sumunod sa mga itinakdang health protocols,” Go said.

[It is still risky. We need to remain alert and we need to follow the standard health protocols.]

“I am deeply concerned but, at the same time, confident in our existing Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate strategy,”Go said.

“As reports indicated, the first two cases of this variant were detected and isolated on the same dates and contact tracing is presently being conducted to who else were exposed to them,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson highlighted the importance of contract tracing to prevent further transmission of the Omicron variant.

“Contact tracing is key. The two have been here for quite a while. I hope all their co-passengers – and those whom they got in contact with before the detection of the Omicron variant – are all accounted for and closely monitored,” Lacson said in a statement.

The senator, who is also running for president in the 2022 polls, said the government and the public cannot afford to have another surge due to the Omicron variant as this could have “devastating effects on our health and economy.”

“It bears repeating that while the government must learn from past lapses to deal with the new variant, the public must also do their part by observing distancing and other health protocols,” he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that the Omicron variant was detected in a 48-year-old male returning overseas Filipino who arrived from Japan on December 1 via Philippine Airlines flight number PR 0427.

The other case is a 37-year-old male Nigerian national who arrived from Nigeria on November 30 via Oman Air with flight number WY 843.

Both are already undergoing isolation at a facility managed by the Bureau of Quarantine, the DOH said. –NB, GMA News

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