President Rodrigo Duterte will convene the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and infectious disease experts on Saturday to discuss the new strain of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) detected in the United Kingdom.
In a text message sent to reporters on Friday, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Duterte’s meeting with the IATF-EID and infectious disease experts would be held in Malacañang Palace in Manila.
“Biglaan patawag ng meeting with IATF and infectious disease experts tom si PRRD (President Duterte suddenly called for a meeting with the IATF and infectious disease experts tomorrow) to discuss new strain (of Covid-19),” said Go, Duterte’s former long-time aide.
In an interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the meeting would take place at the Malago Clubhouse at about 6 p.m. Saturday.
The President scheduled the meeting following his approval of the IATF-EID’s resolution that bans Philippine flights from the UK from December 24 to 31 due to concerns over the spread of a new variant of Covid-19.
Go said Duterte decided to cut short his Christmas break as he is “very much” concerned with the reported new strain of Covid-19 that could spread more quickly than previous strains.
Roque said Duterte would discuss with the IATF-EID and infectious disease experts the possibility of extending the travel restrictions on transport from the UK.
He said there was also a chance that the travel ban would be imposed on other countries where the new strain had already entered.
“Inaasahan ding pag-usapan kung kinakailangang magkaroon ng travel ban doon sa mga lugar kung saan nakapasok na ang bagong strain ng Covid-19 (They might also discuss the possible travel ban on places where the new strain of Covid-19 has been detected),” Roque said.
The IATF-EID’s Resolution 90 authorizes the Philippines to temporarily ban flights from the UK from December 24 to 31 to prevent the entry of the new strain of Covid-19 into the country. SOVEREIGNPH