• Melo Acuna

Stricter border control needed, says Philippine Genome Center director

Variants are from international travelers; no community transmissions reported


MANILA – The variants discovered by the Philippine Genome Center all came from international travelers and there has been no community transmission as of today.


This was according to Dr. Cynthia Palmes-Saloma, executive director of the University of the Philippines-based Philippine Genome Center, during the Monday Presidential Briefing hosted by Secretary Harry Roque.


Dr. Palmes-Saloma said it is the Department of Health’s Epidemiology Bureau that does the tracing of the returning overseas Filipinos’ origin or international travelers who have been found positive of variants of concern.


“I think that’s a very interesting question because we also want to monitor them, not only for international travelers but for local cases as well,” she said.


She underscored that the variants of concern are all from international travelers. She added there’s a technical working group making recommendations particularly on facility quarantine because of the possibility that one may become a potential “super spreading event.”


Dr. Palmes-Saloma said there ought to be strict border control. However, when asked how the government attends to the southern corridor, she said they have recorded several instances.


“I hope our Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (RESUs) would send us their reports so we will know the variants found among Filipinos using the southern backdoor,” she concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)

Dr. Cynthia Palmes-Saloma, UP-Philippine Genome Center executive director. (Screengrab from Presidential Press Briefing/June 21,2021/RTVM/PCOO/PTV4)

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