MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is “very likely” to announce new quarantine classifications on Monday for January, his spokesman said on Sunday amid worries over the new more infectious strain of the virus that has been spreading globally.
In a text message sent to ABS-CBN News, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President may announce the new classifications after the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) tomorrow.
Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine, while the more relaxed modified general community quarantine is in effect over most of the country.
Duterte met with IATF members and health experts on Saturday over the new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.
He said another set of lockdowns is possible should the situation become severe.
However, medical experts on Saturday did not back imposing another set of lockdowns and travel restrictions in the Philippines because while the mutated COVID-19 variant was easily transmittable, the mode of transmission would still be the same, namely respiratory droplets.
The government has already banned flights from the United Kingdom until the middle of January over concerns that visitors from the UK may be carrying the new virus variant.
On Sunday, the Philippines saw the number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 drop to below 1,000.
But the Health Department clarified that this was because there were fewer testing labs open during the holidays, and there were fewer people coming in to get tested.
The Philippines has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as number of fatalities due to the disease in Southeast Asia.
The country, however, has the highest ratio of COVID-19 related deaths per 1 million population in the region.
- Report from Jeffrey Hernaez, ABS-CBN News