MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said government response to the mutated form of the coronavirus would remain the same, but another set of lockdowns is possible should the situation becomes severe.
“The best thing to address our problems at the same time, we will treat the new strain as if we are treating COVID, the way we are treating COVID-19. If it is toxic, virulent . . . We will respond,” Duterte said during his press briefing on the new COVID-19 strain.
The chief executive added that protecting the country from the mutated COVID-19 remained the top priority.
“It might be something like a lockdown, if things get worse. It depends on the severity of the contamination and the number of people contaminated. We may . . . meet again and talk about the protocol to safeguard the nation,” he added.
Duterte earlier said Sulu sought the government’s help in monitoring the new COVID-19 variant, after Sabah, Malaysia has reportedly detected it.
But the country’s OIC representative to the World Health Organization clarified during the briefing that the strain found in Sabah wasn’t the mutated form from the United Kingdom.
"We have confirmed, as of now, from the information within the WHO that the variant they have identified in Sabah is not the same as the variant in UK," Dr. Socorro Escalante said.
The Philippines remains to have one of the world’s longest coronavirus lockdowns even as restrictions eased further, allowing limited resumption of work and public transportation.
Despite the lockdowns, imposed mid-March, the country has been logging more than a thousand daily COVID-19 cases.