With the emergence of a new COVID-19 strain, the Omicron variant, Philippine higher-ups have begun placing travel bans to and from certain countries and have reinforced stringent testing and quarantine protocols for travelers entering the country.
After a frantic struggle with the Delta variant, cases in the Philippines have been decreasing while vaccination rates have been increasing. Just in time for the holidays, local authorities relaxed certain restrictions. Currently, the National Capital Region (NCR) is at alert level 2 which is fairly lax compared to the other alert levels. In addition to this, quarantine rules were further relaxed. Total days spent in quarantine were reduced and a quarantined individual can leave as soon as a negative test is released.
While the IATF had plans to further lower the restrictions in the country, unfortunately, they will have to rethink their plans due to the new variant.
What is Omicron Variant?
Around early to mid-November, specimens of a new variant were collected in parts around Africa. On November 24, 2021, variant B.1.1.529 of SARS-CoV-2 was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO then named B.1.1.529, “Omicron”, and classified it as a Variant of Concern (VOC).
Right now, the variant is spreading like wildfire. According to WHO, Omicron has been detected in 38 countries. The USA and Australia are the latest to report locally transmitted cases. In South Africa, from a few hundred cases mid-November has ballooned to over 8,000 cases in December, with around 3,000 cases on November 26, 2021, alone.
When it comes to the severity of the variant, hospitalization rates in countries with high Omicron cases are increasing though it has yet to be determined whether this is connected to Omicron or not. Scientists have also yet to identify specific symptoms related to Omicron. On the bright side, WHO maintains that getting vaccinated will reduce the likelihood of severe disease and death, just like other former VOC.
Travel restrictions in the Philippines
Recently, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) released a “red list” containing some African and European countries wherein high cases of the Omicron variant have been recorded. If arriving passengers have been or are coming from a country from the red list and have been there within 14 days prior to his/her arrival, he/she will be barred from entry.
“Inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to [the] Red List within the last 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines shall not be allowed,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
But if the inbound passenger is a Filipino returning home, he/she must spend 10 days in a quarantine facility and present a negative RT-PCR COVID test.
Lastly, foreign tourists have been suspended entry to the country, regardless of vaccination status and country of origin.
The situation in the Philippines
As of now, there have been no reported cases of the new COVID-19 variant.
Also, to reiterate, cases in the Philippines have been declining. As of December 5, 2021, Philippine authorities reported only 603 new cases, the 12th time that less than 1000 cases have been recorded in a day. With vastly more recoveries occurring more than deaths, consequently, the number of active cases goes down as well, currently at a low of 13,000 active cases.
For the vaccination rate, particularly coming off a three-day vaccination drive, the Philippines has now administered 90 million total doses with 34% of the country fully vaccinated.
At alert level 2, many establishments that were forced to shut down due to lockdown protocols have recently reopened. These establishments include bars, nightclubs, cinemas, museums, and the like. For other establishments that were open even before alert level 2 — such as malls, dine-in restaurants, barbershops and parlors, and gyms and fitness centers — they are now allowed to operate at increased capacity.
Because of this, a lot more people are outdoors. One can observe the increased number of people outdoors with family and friends.
A home that keeps you safe
Regardless of how virulent or potent a virus strand is, staying at home remains one of the safest places to be during a pandemic.
However, there is a common notion that people who live in condos are not as safe due to limited space and exposure to other people. While shared spaces and amenities, being in close contact with others, and the need to go outdoors will always pose a threat to oneself, some condos still make it a point to keep their respective inhabitants safe.
Vista Residence, a condo in the Philippines, have maintained order and cleanliness within their premises through a “new normal” policy. Included in this “new normal” policy are a limited elevator policy, hourly sanitation of the entire building, and strict protocols for visitors and deliveries.
For condo unit owners, they were highly recommended to include a bevy of disinfectants in their condo design to stay clean and hygienic. Moreover, amenities like the study room, gym, and public areas remain closed to residents.
Despite the negative reputation the condominiums have gotten during the pandemic, knowing what Vista Residence does for its residents, tenants, and employees’ health and safety should provide more than enough reassurance to stay in Vista Residence if you are not living there already.
Sadly, health experts posit that it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when the new variant enters the country. Just like previous VOCs, they seem to find a way to enter the country regardless of the travel bans and lockdown protocols.
While the government planned to further scale down on lockdown restrictions, they may have to digress on these initial plans and stay on top of the whole situation to determine what to do next.
But if worse comes to worst, and this VOC is every bit as catastrophic as it is starting to seem, Filipinos may have to return back home and stay there until the circumstances improve. If you are still looking for a home, consider condo living and the safety assured by Vista Residences.
But whether things get worse or not, it would be best if every Filipino remains vigilant and careful.
Vista Residences is the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. that offers ready for occupancy and pre-selling condominium projects in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Ortigas, Baguio, Cebu, and CDO that are strategically located within major cities, in close proximity to premium universities, transit oriented locations and developed business districts.
At Vista Residences, unit owners can take advantage of the property’s centrality. The properties of Vista Residences are strategically located near the country’s premium universities and CBDs, making them an attractive investment for both local and foreign investors.
Vista Residences has ready for occupancy condo projects in Manila such as Vista Taft, Vista Heights, Vista GL Taft, 878 Espana, and Crown Tower University Belt. It also has pre selling projects in the said area which include Vista Recto, Plumeria Heights, Tennyson Heights, Bradbury Heights, Sky Arts Manila, and Kizuna Heights.
Meanwhile, its ready for occupancy projects in Quezon City include Wil Tower, the Symphony Towers, Pine Crest, and Vista 309 Katipunan. It also has pre selling condo projects in the said city such as Hawthorne Heights and Vista Pointe.
Living in Vista Residences enables you to enjoy convenience, where everything is pretty much within walking distance or a few minutes away from the property; comfort because the project features and amenities are designed to deliver comfort at all times, which makes condo living a worthy investment; security that is 24/7 and CCTV monitoring, which makes the residents safe and secure within the property.
In line with Vista Residences’ thrust to offer convenience among its residents, it also features an AllDay Convenience Store and Coffee Project in all its projects.
Vista Residences is part of Vista Land’s roster of vertical housing brands that cater to millennials and young professionals. The other vertical brands include Camella Manors, COHO, and Crown Asia.
For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.