IATF Focuses on the Cognizance with the Latest Variant of COVID-19 to Protect the Nation

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The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases, in accordance with the Direction of President Duterte, has set up a Scientific Working Group or TWG to concentrate on the surveillance and awareness of the latest form of COVID-19 originating in the UK.

In fact, IATF approved Resolution 92, which established the Technical Working Group on COVID-19 Variants to track and classify the occurrence in the country of SARS-CoV-2 variants. In view of this, A resolution signed by IATF Chairman Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and IATF Co-Chairman Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles stated that the TWG will also provide policy advice to the IATF on the response to every state of concern.

Along with this, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was confirmed by the body as chair and co-chair of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime Montoya. Members are Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, Dr. Marissa Alejandria and Dr. Edsel Salvaña of the Health Department, Scientific Advisory Group; Dr. Celia Carlos, Director of the Tropical Medicine Research Institute; Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-dela Paz, Executive Director of the National Institutes of Health of the University of the Philippines. Dr. Cynthia Saloma, UP-Philippine Genome Center Executive Director, and Dr. John Wong, Epimetrics Founder. Shortly after Christmas Day, in his meeting with the IATF and science experts on the new version, Duterte expressed concern about the potential entry of the UK variant of the coronavirus into the world.

Though he was confident that mechanisms were in place, Duterte created the TWG to concentrate on the new variants to ensure that the government was prepared to deal with them. The IATF also tasked the DOH, Departments of Commerce and Business, Labor and Jobs, Tourism, Home and Local Government particularly Local Government Units and Information and Communication Technology, the Office of the Presidential Spokesman and the Office of the Presidential Communications Activities, in its most recent resolution, to work together to tackle COVID-19.

For this reason, The agencies are expected to further intensify their attempts to enforce, track and coordinate or to impose certain additional concrete steps to reduce the likely holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.

Morever, Duterte has ordered travel bans on all foreign travelers coming from Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Spain and the United States after news of new variants impacting several nations.

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