By Tracy Cabrera
Omicron Covid variant cases have placed the United Kingdom on high alert with trackers fully deployed to ensure an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: The Japan Times)
MANILA — In line with fears of the possible entry of the new Omicron variant into the country by inbound travelers, Partido Reporma senatorial aspirant Gen. Guillermo Eleazar is supporting calls from health experts and the public for the temporary suspension of incoming flights from Hong Kong where at least two cases of the new Covid-19 mutations have already been detected.
In a statement, Eleazar stressed that “there must be a sense of urgency in the making of necessary decisions to prevent the entry of the new coronavirus variant into the country” because losing time would mean a repeat of an episode wherein a mutated strain of Covid-19 was able to enter the country.
“Imposing a travel ban on countries with recorded cases of Omicron is the wise thing to do right now, and this includes Hong Kong,” he added.
Aside from implementing travel suspensions of inbound flights from red-flagged countries, the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief also advised the establishment of a monitoring system that would spell out Covid situations in other countries for regular updating of the travel restrictions.
Prior to Eleazar’s advisory, health secretary Francisco Duque III had announced that he had already submitted the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID)’s recommendation to executive secretary Salvador Medialdea for the imposition of a travel restriction on travelers coming from Hong Kong.
Aside from Hong Kong, Eleazar said that Germany should also be included in the red list since a suspected Omicron case was detected in a passenger who came from South Africa.
“By now, we should already learn from that experience and do our best to protect our people. We cannot afford to let our healthcare system collapse and impose another nationwide lockdown,” he reiterated. (ai/mtvn)