Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Tuesday called for stricter measures to prevent the entry of new variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) into the country as he enjoined the country to learn lessons from the last nine months.
“Huwag nating hayaang pumasok dito at kumalat sa ating bansa. Ulitin ko, lessons learned na tayo dito, sa nakaraang siyam na buwan (Let us not allow the new Covid-19 variant to enter the country. And let me repeat that we already have learned lessons from the past nine months),” Go said during an ambush interview right after he led the distribution of assistance to victims of Tropical Depression Vicky in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur.
“Marami na po tayong natutunan and I’m sure ginagawa po ng ating gobyerno, ng IATF, ang lahat (We already learned a lot and I am sure the government and the Inter-Agency Task Force are doing everything),” he added.
Go also recommended putting in place strict border control and necessary travel restrictions in seaports, especially after neighboring Sabah in Malaysia reported the presence of another new Covid-19 variant. Sabah is just 29 hours by boat ride from the Sulu archipelago.
The Philippines has already suspended all flights from the United Kingdom starting on December 24 until the middle of January. The travel ban has been expanded and now covers 20 countries.
He emphasized, however, that overseas Filipino workers covered by the travel ban must be properly assisted and supported, especially those who have lost jobs and have nowhere to go but back home in the Philippines.
Go added that there are clean quarantine facilities in New Clark City in Pampanga where returning overseas Filipinos can be quarantined after arriving from abroad. This, he added, would help prevent the spread of the new Covid-19 variant in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte has recently approved a proposal from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to impose travel restrictions on territories with reported cases of the new Covid-19 strain.
Ending the interview, Go assured the public that once a vaccine is proven safe and effective, the poor and vulnerable sectors will be prioritized for immunization together with frontliners.“So, importante po, availability ng vaccine at accessibility ng vaccine para sa mga mahihirap. At dapat libre po para sa mga mahihirap (So, it is important that the vaccines are available and accessible to the poor. And the Covid-19 vaccines should be provided at no cost to the poor),” he ended. SOVEREIGNPH