Duterte to tackle new Covid-19 strain with IATF, experts


President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and infectious disease workers on Saturday to discuss the new strain of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom (UK).

In a text message sent to reporters on Friday, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said Duterte’s meeting with the IATF-EID and infectious disease experts would be held in Malacañan Palace in Manila.

“Biglaan patawag ng meeting with IATF and infectious disease experts tom si PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte suddenly called for a meeting with the IATF and infectious disease experts tomorrow) to discuss new strain (of the coronavirus disease 2019 or Covid-19),” said Go, Duterte’s former long-time aide.

In an interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the meeting would take place at the Malago Clubhouse at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

The President scheduled the meeting following his approval of the IATF-EID’s resolution that bans Philippine flights from the UK from December 24 to 31 due to concerns over the spread of a new variant of Covid-19.

Go said Duterte had decided to cut short his Christmas break as he is “very much” concerned with the reported new strain of Covid-19 that could spread more quickly than previous strains.

Roque said Duterte would discuss with the IATF-EID and infectious disease experts the possibility of extending the travel restrictions on transport from the UK.


He said there was also a chance that the travel ban would be imposed on other countries where the new strain had already entered.

“Inaasahan ding pag-usapan kung kinakailangang magkaroon ng travel ban doon sa mga lugar kung saan nakapasok na ang bagong strain ng Covid-19 (They might also discuss the possible travel ban on places where the new strain of Covid-19 has been detected),” Roque said.

The IATF-EID’s Resolution 90 authorizes the Philippines to temporarily ban flights from the UK from December 24 to 31 to prevent the entry of the new strain of Covid-19 into the country.

Under the resolution, all passengers who have been to the UK within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, including those merely in transit, are likewise prohibited from entering the country in the same period.

Passengers already in transit from the UK and those who have been to the UK within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, who arrived before 12:01 a.m. of December 24, will not be subject to entry restriction but will be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols.

The protocols that need to be observed include an absolute 14-day quarantine period at the Athlete’s Village in the New Clark City, notwithstanding a negative reverse transcription -polymerase chain reaction test result.

According to the resolution, outbound travel to the UK will also be subject to the exit protocols of the Philippines and the UK. PNA.GOV.PH