MANILA - The country's contact tracing czar on Friday called for vigilance against the new, more transmissible COVID-19 variant spreading in parts of the world.
Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong said there is no guarantee that the Philippines would be able to keep the coronavirus variant away despite implementing travel restrictions.
"It's always a challenge. We're doing our best to make sure that nobody with the variant can enter the country but there's no guarantee," he told ANC "Matters of Fact".
He added: "We can't simply bank on the idea that we will be able to stop it."
Should the mutated coronavirus enter the country, Magalong said they would continue to implement the same contact tracing efforts.
"There's no change in the methodology. We continue to stick to the same methodology because whether it's a different variant [or not], it doesn't change the tracing process," he said.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said it had not detected the new coronavirus variant in the country.
This is based on results of gene sequencing from over 300 samples of COVID-19-positive travelers from the United Kingdom and other countries where the new variant had been detected.
Hoping to avert the entry of the coronavirus variant, the Philippine government has prohibited foreign travelers of 27 countries from coming into the country.
To date, the Philippines has tallied over 482,000 coronavirus cases, with more than 9,300 fatalities linked to the virus. The nationwide tally includes nearly 450,000 recoveries and over 23,600 active cases.