By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and senatorial candidate Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar hailed the government’s efforts and the citizenry’s cooperation in following minimum health safety protocols for successfully preventing until now the entry of the Omicron Covid-19 variant since its discovery in South Africa late last month.
Eleazar said that he was happy to note that health authorities have reported that the country has yet to record a single trace of the new deadlier variant in the country although the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) is still not discounting the possibility that the highly virulent virus could enter the country if the authorities and the public let their guard down and give in to complacency with the downward trend of Covid-19 cases across the country.
“Maganda ang ating nakiklita dahil kahit papaano ay hindi pa nakakapasok ang Omicron at dahil na rin ito sa estriktong pagpapatupad ng ating border control at gayun na rin ang pagsunod ng ating mamamayan sa mga protocol para hindi na kumalat pa ang sakit sa ating populasyon,” the Partido Reporma senatorial bet pointed out.
According to PGC executive director Dr. Cynthia Saloma, they are carefully on the lookout in the event that the Omicron variant is recorded in the country but she added that what is important is that they have not yet recorded any Omicron variant cases and that authorities are exerting efforts to keep the situation as is.
With this in view, Dr. Saloma appealed to the public to immediately coordinate with local government units and health center facilities in case they feel any Covid-like symptoms to prevent the spread of the mutated virus that is considered more contagious than the Delta variant.
For his part, Eleazar emphasized that it would be very important for everyone to closely monitor developments from government bulletins from our health authorities, especially the Department of Health (DoH) and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID, as well news reports from private media entities so they can be properly informed on what to do.
“Dapat lagi nating tandaan na kung kailangan tayong magpa-quarantine, makipag-uganayan tayo sa health facilities at saka sa mga LGU para hindi na po kumalat ang sakit at makabalik na tayo sa normal nating pamumuhay at makapag-recover na ang ating ekonomiya,” he stressed.
The retired police general also cited that as far as our health experts are concerned, it is good to note the country is now more prepared to fend off the Omicron variant than it was when the Delta variant entered the country.
“Mabuti nga ngayon ay nadoble ang ating genomic biosurveillance capacity tapos nagawa pang palaganapin ito sa Visayas at Mindanao kaya nagawa natin kahit papaano na mapigilan ang pagpasok ng Omicron sa ating bansa,” he enthused.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) disclosed that they are closely monitoring the condition of inbound travelers even as it has already submitted the samples of the three passengers from South Africa, Burkina Faso in West Africa and from Egypt to the PGC.
“So we will just wait for that. Mayroon naman tayong makina na makakapagproseso ng mas mabilis in 24 to 34 hours. Nevertheless, we have not monitored any clustering or increasing number of Covid-19 cases in any part of the country in the past days,” health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said. (ai/mtvn)