DOH: IATF agreed not to add more countries to red list for now

DOH: IATF agreed not to add more countries to red list for now
© DOH Vergeire-July13

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has decided to refrain from adding more countries into the Philippines’ red list amid the threat of the Omicron variant, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday reported that a total of 42 countries or jurisdictions had detected the variant.

“Napagkasunduan po sa IATF na hindi po muna natin dadagdagan dahil padagdag na ng padagdag ang mga bansa. Ang gagawin natin, i-intensify natin ang ginagawang control sa ating borders,” Vergeire said in a radio interview.

(It was agreed in the IATF that we will not add more countries because the number of countries reporting the variant keeps increasing. What we will do is to intensify our border controls.)

Meanwhile, the latest additions to the list of countries suspected of having a local transmission of the variant include Australia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Australia is included in the country’s yellow list, Zambia is on the green list, and Zimbabwe is part of the red list.

Vergeire stressed that the Philippines cannot close its doors to the world.

“Hindi ho natin puwede isara ang Pilipinas from the rest of the world. So ‘yan po ang prinsipyong pinanghahawakan ng Inter-Agency Task Force,” Veregire said.

(We cannot close off the Philippines to the rest of the world. This is the principle of the Inter-Agency Task Force.)

“Kaya ang ating mga eksperto nagrekomenda na lang po ng mga protocols (so our experts recommended protocols) stricter than before, so that at least we can assure that we can still guard our borders,” she said.

The IATF has recently changed the testing and quarantine protocols for travelers arriving from countries that are not on the red list.

Vergeire has also said that the Philippines can only prepare for and delay the entry of the Omicron variant as the government cannot control this.

A total of 532 individuals across the globe have tested positive for the Omicron variant as of December 5.  —KG, GMA News

This article DOH: IATF agreed not to add more countries to red list for now was originally published in GMA News Online.

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