MANILA, July 7 (Mabuhay) — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday said the government would impose stricter border controls to prevent the entry of the Lambda Covid-19 strain, which remains to be a “variant of interest”.

In a Palace briefing, Duque said the Lambda variant, which reportedly originated in Peru and has spread in 35 Latin American countries, has not yet been detected in the Philippines based on the genome sequencing of the Philippine Genome Center from 7,000 samples.

Duque also noted that the Lambda variant has not yet been classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.

“So iyan po ang paigtingin natin, ang border control – ibig sabihin po nito (So in our assessment, the border control – meaning) 14-day quarantine – 10 in the government identified quarantine facility, test on the 7th day and completion of the remaining 4 days in their home, LGU (local government unit) or residents and of course iyong bio-surveillance natin na ginagawa ng Philippine Genome Center (the bio-surveillance that our Philippine Genome Center is doing),” Duque said.

He emphasized that all returning Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers must follow strict quarantine protocols, wherein they will undergo quarantine for at least 10 days and take a swab test on the seventh day since their arrival.

Duque noted that border controls have so far been effective, particularly against the highly infectious Delta variant with no local case or local transmission recorded yet in the Philippines.

“So, kaya kinakailangan talaga bantayan po natin ito dahil baka biglang maging variant of concern. So, ano ang gagawin natin? Patuloy na paigtingin ang ating border control (So, we need to really monitor this because it might become variant of concern. So, what shall we do? Let’s continue intensifying our border control),” he said. (MNS)

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