CLEANUP AFTER POLLS. Workers of Barangay Salitran 3, start removing election campaign materials along Congressional Road in Dasmarinas City, Cavite on Wednesday (May 11, 2022), Barangay chairman George del Rosario ordered the removal of all campaign posters, especially along major thoroughfares and barangay roads. (MNS photo)

MANILA, May 11 (Mabuhay) –If no surge occurs two weeks after the national and local elections, an infectious disease expert said this means that protection against COVID-19 remains high in the country.

“Yes, expected ‘yan na kung wala mang surge or spike after the election, that’s good news, no. Ibig sabihin, mataas pa ang protection natin,” Dr. Rontgene Solante said at the Laging Handa briefing.

Solante said they received reports that some individuals removed their face masks while others had to wait inside rooms without proper ventilation due to problems with vote-counting machines during the voting period.

According to Solante, the effect of the activities during the Election Day may be reflected in the country’s COVID-19 numbers starting next week as the incubation period is usually from three to five days.

“So kung halimbawa, mataas ang exposure nung May 9, magbilang tayo ng mga… five to seven days. So magre-reflect ‘yan, most likely next week,” he said.

Solante also warned against the entry of the BA.4 and the BA.5 Omicron sub-variants, which are linked to the spread of cases in South Africa, and the BA.2.12.1.

“So kung okay tayo after two weeks, then hopefully, ma-continue natin.. But we continue to be vigilant in our health protocol at sa pagbabakuna,” he said.

“Based on data, kapag meron kang first booster or third dose, malaki ang tsansa natin ng protection even with these sub-variants, especially against severe diseases,” Solante added.

“So ganon pa rin ang panawagan natin… pataasin natin ang booster doses natin doon sa primary vaccine series na nakatanggap na. At ‘yung wala pang bakuna, dapat magkapabukana,” he further said.

For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) has said that the sub-variants “should not be any cause of concern.”

Meanwhile, Solante said the challenge for the next administration is to continue the Duterte administration’s COVID-19 response.

“Isa sa challenges ng next administration is to really continue what the current administration is doing. Paigtingin ang vaccination, i-improve ang surveillance natin, dapat marami na tayong testing facilities to do also genomic surveillance,” he said.

He also urged the next administration to prepare for the next pandemic.

“At importante pa rin palawakin natin ang pag-improve ng mga healthcare facilities, especially the government facilities, not only preparing for this pandemic but preparing also for the next pandemic or any emerging infectious diseases,” he said.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the next administration will already have a “playbook” on how to deal with the pandemic.

“Mabebenepisyuhan ang susunod na administrasyon kasi kumabaga meron nang playbook na maiiwan. Number two, marami na tayong mga policies, ‘yung mga issuances natin ng mga decisions, ‘yung mga policies natin na more than 200,” he said.

Duque said the current administration will pass on the most effective solutions such as the health protocols and the prevent, detect, isolate, treat, reintegrate, and vaccination strategies.—AOL, GMA News

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