MANILA, Nov 27 (Mabuhay)– The Department of Health has recommended a ban on travelers from Hong Kong after the detection in the territory of the B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant, which is declared a “variant of concern.”

“Yes. Ikinokonsidera na rin ‘yan. Kaya nga sumulat na kami, nag-rekomenda kami kay Executive Secretary [Salvador Medialdea] na kung puwedeng maaksyunan ito agad para makasiguro tayo na hindi makapasok ito,” health secretary Francisco Duque III said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has approved the temporary suspension of inbound international flights from South Africa, Botswana, and other countries with local cases or with the likelihood of occurrences of the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant, weeks prior to Christmas season.

“Kailangan talagang tugunan ito dahil hindi naman ito karaniwang panahon, ito ay Christmas season. Kinakailangan talaga na pag-aralan itong maigi. Hopefully within the morning we can get some answers,” Duque said.

Duque hinted at the possibility that the Omicron variant could change the COVID-19 downward trend in the Philippines.

“Posibleng magbago, kasi titingnan natin kung ito nga ba ay peligroso. So mag-iingat tayo. Ano ba ang tamang pag-iingat? Kasama riyan ang mas mahigpit na international border controls.” (MNS)

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