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PH possible to return under lockdown amid new COVID-19 strain, Duterte says


 President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that the Palace could place the Philippines under lockdown again in case the new COVID-19 strain first detected in the United Kingdom and spreads in the country.


"Actually iyong lockdown is a possibility. I said we are making some projections. But if the severity in numbers would demand that we take corrective measures immediately, then we'll just have to go back to lockdown," said Duterte during a meeting with members of the IATF on COVID-19 and health experts in Malacanang.


The President, however, clarifies that making the country under a lockdown will "depend on the severity in number... in the meantime we are not able to confront them effectively kasi 'pag marami na ang cases with the new variant and we do not have the antidote how to kill those variants, we have a problem there."


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government might enforce a tighter lockdown, but not after the IATF agrees on a "threshold."


During the same meeting, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday announced that one of the 79 passengers that arrived in the Philippines from the UK have tested positive for the COVID-19, though it is not yet known whether or not the person was carrying the new strain.


"It also didn’t mean the new strain would cause greater sickness or affect the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 vaccines,” Duque said.


The President, meanwhile, assured that the Department of the Interior and Local Government and local government units would make travelers comply with a mandatory 14-day quarantine as recommended to them by the IATF.

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