MANILA – After the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the risk assessment of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to “very high” at a global level, a Palace official said the government is “ready” to step up efforts to contain the pathogen
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease tasked to prevent the spread of the disease will act in response to the WHO’s recommendations.
“Ready naman tayo dun kasi ang mga protocols naman natin well-placed (We are ready for it because our protocols are well-placed),” Panelo said in an interview over DZIQ on Sunday.
He also welcomed the WHO citing nine countries, including the Philippines, which show the spread of the deadly disease “can be contained” after the nations recorded no new cases in the past two weeks.
“Even the World Health Organization has commended the Philippines. Maganda raw pag-contain natin sa virus kaya walang dapat alalahanin ang ating mga kababayan (We are containing the virus very well that’s why our fellow Filipinos should not worry),” he said.
Besides the Philippines, countries who have not reported new cases of Covid-19 in the last two weeks are Belgium, Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka and Sweden.
“The key message that should give all countries hope, courage and confidence is that this virus can be contained. Indeed, there are many countries that have done exactly that,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing on Wednesday.
Asked if the government would consider replicating the move of Japan to ask schools to close for about a month to control the virus, Panelo said anything is possible.
“Pag nakikita ni Presidente nanganganib at meron rekomendasyon ang inter-agency gagawin din ‘yun. Sa ngayon, wala. (If President Rodrigo Duterte can see the threat increasing and there is a recommendation from the inter-agency, it may also be done. At present, there’s none),” he said.
The Philippines has temporarily banned the entry of all foreign tourists coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and North Gyeongsang province in South Korea as part of efforts to prevent the disease from spreading.
However, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the countries mentioned may opt for repatriation provided they undergo the prescribed 14-day quarantine procedure.
Filipinos are also banned from travelling to the said countries for leisure. Only permanent residents, students, and OFWs are exempted from the ban.
Three cases of Covid-19, involving three Chinese nationals from the central city of Wuhan, China where the virus originated, were confirmed in the Philippines.
Currently, there is no existing case of new coronavirus in the Philippines, since one of the three Covid-19 patients died, while the remaining two already recovered from the disease.
As of February 29, there are over 85,000 cases of Covid-19 worldwide and over 2,900 deaths. (iamigo/sovereignph.com/PNA)