De Lima urges gov’t to prepare for possible future variants of COVID-19

Published January 24, 2022, 1:19 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senatorial aspirant Senator Leila de Lima on Monday called on the government to prepare for the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 to prevent future case surges in the country.

De Lima, who is seeking a re-election in the upcoming May 2022 elections, said the government’s approach towards COVID-19 should be to prepare for surges to avoid more fatalities and suffering.

“Government should always prepare for COVID-19 surges like a major disaster response. Enough portion of the budget must invariably be identified for addressing all pandemic-related programs,” De Lima said in a statement.

“There must be budget always for continuous vaccination, testing, contact-tracing, isolation, social amelioration and livelihood assistance for those affected,” she stressed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently cautioned against a narrative that the fast-spreading Omicron variant is risk-free, stressing that “this pandemic is nowhere near over.”

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “with the incredible growth of Omicron globally, new variants are likely to emerge.”

As the virus mutates, the senator said it is imperative for the government to be ready to procure and effectively roll out improved vaccines as soon as they become available.

“We must keep up with the latest scientific developments and best practices for us to finally put an end to this pandemic,” De Lima also said.

At the same time, the lawmaker said the government should encourage continuous local production of medicines, medical and personal protective equipment.

De Lima stressed a region-wide lockdown should be avoided as much as possible in favor of more localized lockdowns.

“Sa tamang paghahanda—sa maagap, responsable at siyentipikong pamamaraan na hindi idinadaan lang sa dahas o padalos-dalos na pasya, uusad pa rin ang ekonomiya habang tumutugon sa pandemya (With the right preparation— through proactive, responsible, and scientific way and not through violence or arbitrary policies, our economy will improve while we are responding to the pandemic), ” she said.