CHINA CONSTRUCTS | Louise Nichole Logarta
So there’s a new kid on the block – Covid19 variant-wise – and they’re calling it Omicron.
First detected in South Africa, it’s made its way through Europe, the UK and Hong Kong. So far, our southeast Asian neighbors Japan and South Korea, as well as Israel and Morocco, have closed their borders totally to foreigners. Meanwhile, Europe is closing their borders specifically to travelers from South Africa.
It’s clear – Omicron has got countries panicking. In a New York Times article, writer Amelia Nierenberg wrote: “Nations are responding to the Omicron variant in a vacuum of conclusive evidence, and in the piecemeal fashion that has defined, and hobbled, the global response to Covid19.”
“Piecemeal” and “hobbled” are really good words to define, particularly, the country’s response to Covid19, even in the past, which I daresay has resulted in high numbers of infection from previous variants like Delta.
Again and again, the DOH and its head Sec. Duque employ the same solutions: observance of minimum health protocols, higher vaccination rates and strengthening of the country’s health systems capacity. And there’s nothing wrong with these, but as we’ve said before, it’s Not Enough.
We need vigorous mass testing that’s free, more effective contact tracing and swift isolation of infected individuals. More than that, we need to follow other countries’ examples and close borders, at least until such time that the health experts have learned more about Omicron.
Whatever the authorities do, let them prove to the people that they’ve learned from past mistakes. Lives and livelihoods are at stake.