Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima urged the government to intensify its efforts and come up with a solid strategy to fight the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant, which is reportedly more infectious than the Delta variant.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, underscored the need for the government to take critical steps towards managing the COVID-19 pandemic and be more proactive in their response to the issue.
“By now, we all know that fighting any variant of COVID-19 goes beyond requiring people to wear face shields, and this government should know by now that they need to meticulously yet quickly come up with a solid strategy to prevent the possible entry of the Omicron variant in the country,” she said.
“We cannot afford to have a mere reactive response in handling this new threat that poses yet again serious challenges to our health care system,” she added.
De Lima maintained that among the things that the government should consider in its strategy include “ensuring strict implementation of border control and strengthening efforts to address the continuing vaccine hesitancy.”
Last Nov. 26,the World Health Organization (WHO) reportedly designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).
A growing number of countries have reported confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, with Africa recording the highest number of cases (77) as of Nov. 30.
In addressing the issue, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III recently said that “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, so talagang ‘yan po papasok yan just as we have experienced with Alpha, Delta among the variants of concern.”
De Lima pointed out that the issue on the continuing vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos must be relentlessly addressed because “it will save as many lives as possible and it gives us a solid layer of protection from the virus.”
“Magdadalawang taon na tayong nasa gitna ng pandemya. Hindi naman pwedeng abangan na lang natin ang pagdating ng mas mabagsik na variant ng virus, o kaya naman ay umasa pa rin sa mga palpak na solusyon,” she said.
Ultimately, De Lima urged the public to do their part in helping address the pandemic by following safety health protocols at all times.
“Ngayong papalapit na ang Pasko, marami sa atin ang gustong ipasyal ang pamilya o mamili ng mga gamit, pandekorasyon man o panregalo. Sa lahat ng ito, huwag po nating kalimutan na nasa gitna pa rin tayo ng pandemya. Siguruhin nating nasusunod ang safety health protocols, imulat at hikayatin ang marami pa sa atin na magpabakuna,” she said. (30)