Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Tuesday, July 6, that the Philippines is monitoring the development of the fast-spreading Lambda variant, which was first detected in Peru and is raising concerns due to it being highly transmissible.
During his media briefing, the Palace official stressed that “we will act accordingly” while monitoring the development and progress of the new COVID-19 variant.
Roque was in Clark, Pampanga to attend the ceremonial vaccination for essential workers in Central Luzon.
“Ang Lambda variant ay nanggaling po sa Peru at Latin Amerika (The Lambda variant is from Peru and Latin America). It helps na wala pong (there are no) direct flights to the Philippines from Latin America. Halos lahat po ng mga flights ay nag-o-originate po sa Estados Unidos (Almost all the flights originate from the United States),” he said.
To stop the entry of the new COVID-19 strains, including the Lambda and Delta variants, into the Philippines, the Palace official stressed that there will be “uniform arrival protocols for all Filipinos without exceptions.”
This means newly arrived Filipinos have to stay in a government-accredited quarantine facility for the first 10 days while they get swabbed on the seventh day. They will then continue quarantining for another four days at home.
Also known as the C.37 variant, the Lambda was first detected in Peru and is believed to have easily passed from one host to another in at least 30 countries, including the United Kingdom. There is a lack of scientific evidence if the variant is deadlier than other variants, but experts said it could be more dangerous for older people and those with comorbidities.
There are also concerns that it might cause another surge in cases and hospitalizations.
And although COVID-19 vaccines are known to be effective against all variants of concern and interest in terms of preventing severe symptoms and death, infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the government’s vaccine experts panel, believes that the Lambda variant may affect the efficacy rate and the person’s reaction to antibody treatments.
To date, the Department of Health (DOH) said there are 51,594 active cases with 5,392 new cases as of Monday, July 5. This brings the total number of cases in the country to 1,441,746.