The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other local law enforcement agencies were urged to strengthen border controls in southern Palawan to prevent the potential entry of the Indian variant of coronavirus disease also known as B.1.617.

In her privilege speech during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session on Tuesday, May 11, board member Sharon Abiog-Onda asked the PCG, including the Bantay Dagat to conduct stricter border patrol operations.

Onda said it will be risky if the Indian variant enters the province through the municipalities of Balabac and Bataraza, which are just a few hours sea-travel away from Malaysia that is already infected with the variant.

She also raised concern over the possible entry of the Indian variant which easily transmits from one person to another faster, compared to the original variant of the virus according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“[This presentation is requesting the] Coast guard, Bantay Palawan or Bantay Dagat to strictly impose restrictions on our borders especially in Balabac and Bataraza. The concerned agencies will be responsible with the strict implementation of this resolution in border control,” she said.

The B.1.617 first detected in India in October brought a month-long suffering to their country with more than 3,000 new deaths a day and more than 300,000 new cases recorded on Monday.

“The variant of Indian coronavirus has already reached the countries of Malaysia and Singapore, and madaling makakapasok dito sa lalawigan ng Palawan, not only the Indian virus but the other variants,” Onda added.

Despite having implemented travel ban from India and its neighboring countries Sri Lanka and Nepal, the Philippines recorded the first two cases of Indian variant last week as confirmed by Department of Health (DOH) director for epidemiology bureau Alethea De Guzman.

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