COVID Lambda variant faces PH prevention strategy

Published August 9, 2021, 3:22 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said the Philippines will use the same formula in preventing the entry of the Lambda variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), particularly its PDITR (prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, reintegration) strategy.

Passengers observe safe distancing as part of the COVID-19 preventive protocols inside the MRT implemented by transport authorities ahead of a strict lockdown in Metro Manila (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin).

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after it was reported that the Lambda variant has been detected in 44 states in the United States of America (USA) as of August 4, 2021. Japan has also confirmed its first case of the said variant on August 6.

In his press briefing on Monday, August 9, Roque said the Philippines will go with the same strategy regardless of the variant.

“Kahit ano pang variant ‘yan, kapareho po ang ating katugunan (It doesn’t matter what variant that is, our response will be the same),” he said.

According to Roque, the Philippines has closed its borders to countries with a high number of cases of any variants of concern. The government will also continue implementing its PDITR strategy, particularly the battle cry “Mask, Hugas, Iwas” (face mask, handwashing, physical distancing).

“[The] Mask, Hugas, Iwas; [and our] detection, isolation, and treatment [strategy]. Wala po talagang substitute diyan sa PDITR na ‘yan (There really is no substitute to that PDITR),” he said.

The Palace official likewise said that the government has intensified its vaccination program.

As of August 8, the country has administered 24,479,750 COVID-19 vaccine doses with 11,391,969 individuals receiving the required two shots for five of the six vaccine brands in the country’s inventory.

The Lambda variant, known as C.37, was first discovered in November 2020 in Peru, one of the countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 595 deaths per 100,000 people, the highest in the world.

The country has not yet detected any case of the Lambda variant in the country but health authorities have reported 331 cases of the Delta variant first detected in India as of August 6.

President Duterte has approved placing a number of areas in the country, including Metro Manila, under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent further spread of the Delta variant.