President Rodrigo Duterte (MNS photo)

MANILA, Dec 7 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he is praying that the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 will not reach the Philippines.

In a pre-recorded public address aired Monday night, Duterte said he is happy that the Philippines is handling the pandemic better than other countries.

“I am very happy na bumababa na talaga. Duma-dive na yung ano (I am very happy that cases are going down. There’s a dive). That’s a miracle because other countries are still reeling from the effect. Parang nagkaroon sila ng problema sa Omicron (It seems like they’re having problems about Omicron),” he said.

Duterte expressed hope that the Philippines would not have to handle the Omicron variant, but will also be able to manage should it enter the country.

“Tayo (We), we are not hoping for the best but we pray to God that it will not come to our shores. But if ever dumating (it comes), we can cope up with it just as we did with Covid-19,” he added.

With Christmas just around the corner, he is hopeful that the country and people would get through the health crisis together.

“I’ve always invoked the intervention of God to pull us out of this misery. Christmas na (It’s Christmas season). I hope that everything will be for the good of everybody,” he said.

To date, the Philippines has placed 14 countries on its red list or list of countries at high risk of Covid-19 to control the spread of the Omicron variant.

In addition to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, the government included in the red list Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy effective until December 15.

Testing and quarantine protocols for travelers have also been updated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Omicron a “variant of concern”.

Reports showed that Omicron cases have been identified in dozens of countries on every continent except Antarctica. (MNS)

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