Easing border restrictions risky; wear face mask: expert

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

September 21 2022, 2:43 pm

<p>University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital chair Dr. Ted Herbosa <em>(File photo)</em></p>

University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital chair Dr. Ted Herbosa (File photo)

MANILA – Other variants of the coronavirus would enter the country when border restrictions for foreign travellers are eased, a health expert said Wednesday.

University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital chair Dr. Ted Herbosa, who was medical adviser of the defunct National Task Force Against Covid-19, said in a televised public briefing that apart from allowing foreigners to enter the country, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) may also consider the quarantine requirement for the fully vaccinated travellers.

“Risk ‘yan, ‘pag nagluwag tayo ng border restrictions. Papasok ang iba pang mga variants na binabantayan natin at kung 'di ka na-infect ng variant na ‘yun. May chance na ma-infect ka talaga, pero kung ikaw ay vaccinated, sigurado tayong ikaw ay magkakaroon ng (That’s a risk, if we ease border restrictions. Other variants we’re monitoring will enter and if you haven’t been infected by them. There’s a chance you’ll be infected, but if you’re vaccinated, we’re sure you’ll have) very mild symptoms,” Herbosa said.

The IATF-EID has created a technical working group that will study the country’s border restrictions.

Herbosa said advisory about the wearing of face masks indoors must be observed by incoming foreign travellers.

“Kahit magluwag tayo uli ng borders at doon tayo nagsusuot ng mask doon sa mga enclosed spaces, hindi naman siguro magkakaroon ng case outbreak dito sa Pilipinas (Even if we ease our borders, let us wear our masks in enclosed spaces, there would be no case outbreak in the Philippines),” he said.

Herbosa also urged the public to get a shot against Covid-19 and to receive their booster shot if they are eligible.

As of Sept. 18, almost 72.9 million have been fully vaccinated. Almost 18.9 million have received their first booster dose and almost 2.7 million have received their second booster shot. (PNA)