Take all necessary precautions vs Omicron – Gordon
Senator Richard J. Gordon today warned the public to be more vigilant and cautious against threat of a possible transmission of Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant the World Health Organization (WHO) has referred to as a variant of concern.
Gordon said the new COVID-19 variant, scientifically labelled as B.1.1.529 strain, has shown to have many mutations from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, which many feared to be more transmissible and potent than the Delta variant.
“We should be really concerned about this new variant because it's already spreading like wildfire. Let's continue to wash our hands, keep our distance, get tested regularly and strive to be fully vaccinated,” he said.
“This pandemic will now be traveling 500 times faster than the Delta variant. The transmissibility is quicker and it's more effective than any other previous variant,” he added.
The discovery of Omicron was enough to sound alarm in the United States and other countries, including the Philippines, which are now imposing travel restrictions from southern African countries as an abundance of caution.
While there is no case that had been detected yet in the country, the WHO said the discovery of the variant last Nov. 9 coincided with a sharp rise of coronavirus cases in some South African countries.
Based on news reports, there have also been new cases that have sprung in Belgium, Botswana, Italy, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy, and nearby Hong Kong.
With the staging of a three-day national COVID-19 vaccination drive scheduled from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, Gordon urged people to get inoculated as soon as possible as an added protection against the disease that has stricken over 2.8 million Filipinos.
“Nawa ay mamayani muli ang diwa ng bayanihan dito dahil tinutulungan natin ang isa’t-isa upang maprotektahan ang ating mga sarili mula sa COVID-19,” he said.
“Vaccines are scientifically proven to help people resist the ill-effects of the virus by helping the body recognize the pathogen and minimize its potency. Don’t be afraid of the side-effects. It’s like our body updating its anti-virus software,” he added.
As volunteer-chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the country’s premier humanitarian organization, Gordon has been at the forefront of assisting the government in stemming the further spread of COVID-19 in the country.
He has ordered the PRC management and its volunteers to make necessary adjustments through its predict, plan, prepare, and practice (4Ps) framework in responding to disaster and emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PRC, largest testing center in the country, is expected to reach the five million testing mark within the next few days. It has also vaccinated almost 400,000 individuals through its “Bakuna Bus” initiative.
He has also continued to push for continued benefits for healthcare workers with the approval of Senate Bill 2371 he authored, seeking all public and private healthcare workers to receive a special risk allowance on top of their hazard pay.