Despite cases of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), President Rodrigo Duterte has not changed his mind about allowing Filipinos to return home.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte continues to push for the unimpeded return of all Filipinos.
“For President Duterte, they are our fellow Filipinos. If they want to return home, it is their right. We cannot stop our fellowmen from returning. That’s unfair to them,” Nograles said partly in Filipino in a radio interview on Sunday.
The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed 55 new cases of the Delta variant also on Sunday, bringing to 119 the total cases in the country.
The cases were from the latest batch of samples sequenced by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center.
Nograles assured the national government has set in place testing and quarantine protocols.
“We have protocols in place. These include a 10-day quarantine from those coming from non-green countries or non-green jurisdictions. And then they get swabbed on the seventh day,” he added in Filipino.
Green countries and jurisdictions are those classified by the DOH as “low risk” based on disease incidence rate.
Fully vaccinated travelers from green countries and jurisdictions must carry their official documentation of full vaccination.
Nograles said current testing and quarantine protocols are “effective” in preventing further transmission of the new variant.
Earlier, Duterte said he is eyeing stricter health measures against the Delta variant.
“The reported local cases in the country is a cause for serious alarm and concern. Again it’s redundant but it’s good as any warning that can be given to people. We may need to impose stricter restrictions to avoid mass gathering and prevent superspreader events,” he said in his July 19 public address.
Of the new Delta variant infections, 37 are local cases and 17 are returning overseas Filipinos.
The Delta coronavirus variant was first detected in India and found to be 60 percent more infectious than the Alpha (United Kingdom) variant.
Delta caused the surge in Covid-19 cases in other countries, according to reports.