Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos on Sunday said contingency measures are now being prepared on the possible entry of the more transmissible Omicron variant.
“We’ve been there, done that. The implementation of the strictest quarantine protocol is not new to us and the PNP is always ready to go back to our deployment template,” Carlos said in a statement.
He, however, said this is not an ordinary time as the PNP admits that the work may be more challenging since the country faces the election season.
“There will be mobilization of supporters but we need to strike a balance between allowing them to freely express their inherent political right and the need to suppress the spread of the virus. Once this happens, we will seek the guidance of the Commission on Elections on the possible adjustment in the campaign guidelines,” Carlos said.
He said the PNP has been willing to coordinate with other agencies in providing security to the different entry points of the country and this comes after the government tightened our borders to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared the new Covid-19 variant from southern Africa a “variant of concern,” and named it Omicron.
The declaration came after the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution – an independent group of experts – met to assess the variant initially named B.1.1.529.
The “variant of concern” has a large number of mutations, is more transmissible, and possibly more adept at eluding public health measures including vaccines, according to the WHO.
The new variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on Wednesday and has also been found in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Belgium.
“Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other Variants of Concern,” the United Nations health agency said and urged individuals to take steps to reduce their risk of Covid-19.