Government officials are confident that the current border controls and quarantine protocol for incoming travelers can prevent the entry of the feared Lambda coronavirus variant.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Tuesday the current rules have been effective in preventing the local transmission of the Delta variant in the country. The country’s 19 Delta variant cases were from inbound travelers who were immediately isolated upon arrival.
“Ang ating pamamaraan ganun pa rin, strict border control. Napatunayan natin na ito ay epektibo dahil sa Delta variant, wala pang nakakalusot ni isa sa ating komunidad, local case or local transmission. So ‘yan paiigtingin natin ang border control,” he said in a media briefing.
[Translation: Our strict border protocol will remain the same. We have proven it is effective because the Delta variant has not entered our community, we don’t have a local case or local transmission. So we will strengthen that.]
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque added, “Ang Lambda variant ay nanggagaling sa Peru at Latin America and it helps na walang direct flight to the Philippines from Latin America.”
[Translation: The Lambda variant is coming from Peru and Latin America. It helps there is no direct flight to the Philippines.]
The officials did not say if there are plans to expand the travel ban, but they said the government will monitor developments and act accordingly.
The Lambda variant of interest has been detected in at least 29 territories. The variant, also known as the C.37 variant first detected in Peru, is believed to be more transmissible, meaning it could drive surges in new infections and hospitalizations. Dr. Rontgene Solante said there is no scientific data yet if could lead to more deaths, but added that it can be dangerous for elderly people or those with comorbidities.