So long as there is no proof that the new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variant has spread to the Philippines, a stricter lockdown is not necessary, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday.
“Para sa akin hindi pa naman kailangan na magkaroon tayo ng mas mahigpit na lockdown kasi wala pa naman tayong pruweba na nakapasok na dito (For me, no need to have stricter lockdown because there is still no evidence that the new Covid-19 variant has entered the country),” he said in a radio interview.
The government is now focused on determining if there will be a rise in coronavirus cases after the Christmas holidays, when some people were still holding gatherings, Año added.
He said some testing laboratories were closed during holidays, contributing to a drop in the caseload.
Año said the huge crowds at certain markets such as Divisoria in Manila could trigger a super-spreader event.
“I am very sure may epekto ‘yan. Hindi lang natin alam, ‘yung extent kung gaano, but sigurado dahil nag-ipun-ipon ‘yung mga tao (I’m sure there’s an effect because of that. We don’t know the extent but I’m sure because people were converged),” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had raised the possibility of imposing a hard lockdown because of the new Covid variant.