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IATF to discuss if travel ban still ‘practical’ amid Omicron variant threat

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 13) — The Inter-Agency Task Force will discuss if the government will still implement a travel ban noting that the Omicron variant has already spread in many countries, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday.

“This will be the subject of our IATF discussion this afternoon. Precisely because based on the recent rounds of our genomic sequencing, we already see more and more of Omicron cases. And also, there are more than 150 countries now, I believe, that have been affected by the Omicron variant,” Duque told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“So we will see if it is still practical to implement our travel ban. As a matter of policy this will have to be resolved by the IATF en banc.”

The Department of Health earlier said that the Omicron variant has replaced Delta as the dominant coronavirus variant in the latest genome sequencing. There are currently 43 Omicron cases detected in the country.

World Health Organization country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said on Wednesday that it is difficult to conclusively determine if Omicron is already the dominant variant since the country is sequencing too few samples. But it is expected to displace Delta as the predominant variant as it has done in several other countries, he added.

The national government has placed Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Spain on the red list from Jan 1 to 15. Travelers from these countries are barred from entering the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong has banned flights from the Philippines, Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and the United States, from Jan. 8 to 21.

The WHO earlier said that stricter travel measures will only help nations “buy time” to prepare for new surges amid the threat of Omicron variant.

The Philippines on Wednesday broke another COVID-19 record with 208,164 active cases. The country’s daily cases hit all-time on Monday with 33,169 new infections.

https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/1/13/IATF-discuss-practical-Omicron-variant-threat-.html

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58 minutes ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

There are currently 43 Omicron cases detected in the country.

Hahaha...I think half the population of North Luzon have it already. Not that they are going to volunteer that information, and get dragged off to an expensive hospital, or otherwise punished. :no:

I think I will be back to full fitness tomorrow.  :thumbsup:

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2 minutes ago, graham59 said:

Hahaha...I think half the population of North Luzon have it already. Not that they are going to volunteer that information, and get dragged off to an expensive hospital, or otherwise punished. :no:

I think I will be back to full fitness tomorrow.  :thumbsup:

I agree.

Here are some more interesting stats from Olongapo today.  87 new cases.  81 fully vaccinated.  17 are asymptomatic.  Most have minor symptoms like a cold / flu.  Sounds like Omicron to me but the Philippines has little capability to determine that.

So these tested people are the ones that got caught.  As Graham alluded, the vast majority will not get tested and move on with the cold / flu symptoms.  These 81 probably got caught through contact tracing or mandatory testing at the job.

I hope this surge of mild cases is the beginning of the end.

Screenshot (556).png

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1 hour ago, graham59 said:

Hahaha...I think half the population of North Luzon have it already. Not that they are going to volunteer that information, and get dragged off to an expensive hospital, or otherwise punished. :no:

I think I will be back to full fitness tomorrow.  :thumbsup:

I concur, my wife's family members who live in the NCR all have cold/flu symptoms.

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1 hour ago, earthdome said:

I concur, my wife's family members who live in the NCR all have cold/flu symptoms.

My wife and her relatives as well.

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Another clue:

There has been a run on all types of analgesics up this way (Pangasinan), and now getting hard to get hold of...according to my Mrs, who was out shopping for some yesterday.  

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4 hours ago, scott h said:

They are the ones who can afford to have a test done

I think most of those 87 did not have to pay.  Employer pays or ???  I'm not sure who pays when some gets tested because of contact tracing???  Poor people can't afford it.  Anybody know?

I think employee testing is where most get "caught".  I think I read that at a place like SM department store, they get tested once a week?  Not sure.  Literally 100,000+ employees who live in Olongapo go to work in the freeport everyday, and I know many of the big companies are required to have testing programs if they want to stay open.

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3 hours ago, graham59 said:

Another clue:

There has been a run on all types of analgesics up this way (Pangasinan), and now getting hard to get hold of...according to my Mrs, who was out shopping for some yesterday.  

Good to know. I’ll be sure to buy some here USA to bring with me. 

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16 hours ago, OnMyWay said:

Here are some more interesting stats from Olongapo today.  87 new cases.  81 fully vaccinated. 

A couple of thoughts -

First of all, the data is out of kilter with other places where the unvaccinated are more likely to fall ill with Covid thus take a test thus be found positive - I wonder why Olongapo is so dramatically out of line?  Or, is it such a small sample to be irrelevant.

Secondly, might it be the case that the unvaccinated have already had Covid thus have built up immunity?  

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