Bong Go calls for review of travel protocols and guidelines to prevent entry of new and emerging COVID-19,

Welcomes approval of travel restrictions for travelers from India

Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to continuously review and adjust the travel protocols in place to prevent the entry of new and potentially more infectious COVID-19 variants from other countries into the Philippines.

Following a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections in India, Go lauded the decision of the government to immediately impose restrictions on travelers coming from the said country. He also issued an urgent appeal to concerned authorities to study the imposition of similar restrictions on inbound travel from other countries, such as Brazil, which have a high number of confirmed and active cases.

“Habang sinusubukan nating masolusyunan ang pagtaas ng mga kaso sa Pilipinas, bantayan din natin ang mga pangyayari sa iba pang parte ng mundo para hindi ito mas lalong makaapekto sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon sa loob ng bansa. Umaapela ako sa gobyerno na pag-aralan ang posibleng pagpapatupad ng travel restrictions sa mga papasok mula sa mga bansa kung saan mataas ang kaso ng COVID-19, gaya ng Brazil, sa lalong madaling panahon,” said Go.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced all travelers coming from India or those with travel history to India within the last 14 days preceding arrival shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines beginning April 29 until May 14.

Meanwhile, passengers already in transit from the abovementioned country or have been to the same within 14 days immediately preceding their arrival to the Philippines, will be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols.

The B.1.617 variant, which has been blamed for the rise of cases in India, has two notable mutations which have enabled it to transmit at a faster rate from human to human.

In light of these developments, Go implored the Department of Health to take all necessary steps and strengthen all COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and case isolation and treatment efforts in order to prepare the country for any potential increase in infections.

“Kailangang palaging i-review ang existing border controls at paigtingin lalo ang mga travel restrictions, guidelines, timelines at exemptions na ipinapatupad natin. Maliban dito, paigtingin pa dapat ang mga hakbang ng gobyerno kontra COVID-19, katulad ng mas mabilis na vaccination roll-out, targeted testing, contact tracing, at iba pa,” he appealed.

The Senator further warned the public against complacency. He encouraged them to diligently follow the necessary health and safety protocols issued by the government to keep them safe, such as social distancing, wearing masks and face shields in public, and frequent hand washing.

“Bagamat patuloy ang pagbabakuna, huwag po tayong magkumpyansa. Gawin na natin ang kinakailangan sa lalong madaling panahon para mas maproteksyunan ang ating mga kababayan mula sa sakit na ito. Sa ating mga kababayan, huwag nating sayangin ang lahat ng mga sakripisyo natin simula noong nakaraang taon. Patuloy tayong maging disiplinado sa pagsunod sa mga patakaran,” encouraged Go.

“Magtulungan at makiisa tayo sa bayanihan dahil delikado pa ngayon habang andyan pa ang mga banta ng kalabang hindi naman nakikita. Magmalasakit din tayo sa ating frontliners na patuloy na nagseserbisyo para mailigtas ang buhay ng kapwa nating Pilipino.

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