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Isko Moreno, Willie Ong urge hospitals to prepare for Omicron COVID-19 variant

Isko Moreno, Willie Ong urge hospitals to prepare for Omicron COVID-19 variant

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor and presidential aspirant Isko Moreno Domagoso and his running mate Dr. Willie Ong are urging hospitals nationwide to prepare for the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which is said to be more infectious than Delta that caused the surge in infections this year.

Moreno said all local government units (LGUs) should prepare for the Omicron variant, and this would mean preparing hospitals beds and securing anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and the new drug Molnupiravir.

“We have to prepare since Omicron could be worse than Delta. We should have sufficient hospital beds and medicines. Kailangang lalong pabilisin ang vaccination, including opening booster shots for everyone na naka- six months na after their second dose,” Moreno said.

The Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer said the City of Manila is open to all Covid-19 patients outside Metro Manila, including those from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

“Hangga’t kaya ng supply namin, we can give anti-Covid medicines such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Molnupiravir to patients needing those life-saving drugs sa mga lalawigan ng Central Luzon at Southern Tagalog. We did it before, we will do it again pag lumala ulit ang Covid situation natin,” Moreno pointed out.

Moreno, at the same time, lauded the Duterte administration for making vaccination a priority with the three-day national vaccination drive that will run starting today, November 29, until December 1.

“We in the City of Manila fully support the three-day national vaccination drive launched by the Duterte administration as this will be a big boost to the current vaccination efforts by local government units. We urge our people to have themselves vaccinated immediately in preparation for the new Omicron variant,” Moreno said.

“We also laud the gains we have achieved in bringing down cases of Covid 19 for the past months and we must work together to fight this new variant,” he said.

Under Mayor Isko’s leadership, the City of Manila has long prepared for the pandemic, including the construction in record 52 days of the Covid-19 Field Hospital in front of the Quirino Grandstand. The 344-bed hospital accepts Covid patients suffering mild to moderate infection.

Moreno also upgraded all district hospitals with modern equipment such as the Sta. Ana Hospital which is now the city’s Infectious Disease Control Center complete with isolation wards for Covid patients.

The soon-to-be-opened New Ospital ng Maynila boasts of world-class facilities which are at par with other private hospitals in Metro Manila. The old hospital building, meanwhile, will house the College of Medicine of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

Last week, 40,000 capsules of Molnupiravir were delivered to the Sta. Ana Hospital where there is sufficient storage space for the antiviral drug that is said to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death of Covid patients by 50 percent.

Ong, for his part, called on LGUs to strictly enforce the wearing of face mask among their constituents following the recent discovery of the new Omicron variant from South Africa.

“Etong bagong variant, 13 mutations, talagang nagbago uli’t ‘yung virus. So nung nagbago ‘yung virus, meron ng around 20 plus cases sa South Africa na bakunado pero tinamaan pa rin ng Covid. Nasa Hong Kong na rin, may dalawang tumama doon. Tapos, maraming bansa, nag-ban na agad ng travel from South Africa,” explained Ong.

Among the countries that immediately imposed a travel ban from South Africa are Singapore, India, Britain and the Philippines.

“Sa South Korea, may 4,100 cases uli sila ng Covid. Napupuno uli yung ICU nila doon, 60 percent napupuno na uli at marami ng mga serious cases. So paulit-uli talaga itong pandemya, darating, hindi darating, nasisira ‘yung ekonomiya natin,” Ong said.

What makes the new COVID-19 variant more dangerous according to the 58-year-old Aksyon Demokratiko vice-presidential aspirant is that even those who are already vaccinated were hit or infected by it.

“Bakit delikado itong bagong virus? Kasi kahit bakunado pwede kang tamaan. Kasi nagbago sya… kaya ang panawagan ko sa mga LGUs, tuloy lang natin ‘yung pagma-mask. Itong open air mas safe ito. Tapos siguro, kaunting bantay lang sa mga kabataan kasi ‘yung Covid ngayon kahit mabawasan sa nakakatanda, tinatamaan naman eh ‘yung kabataan eh, teenagers pati mga bata,” Ong said.

Ong said there is a need for the building more infectious disease hospitals that will cater to these kinds of threats on people’s health and well-being.

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