By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated on Monday the country’s seeming return to “square one” is due to the new variants of COVID-19 and not the government’s response to the pandemic.

Roque made the statement after the government placed Metro Manila along with Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to a surge of confirmed cases a year into the health emergency.

“It’s not because of [the] government. It’s because of the virus, it’s because the virus mutated. There’s now the U.K., South Africa, Brazilian, and even the Philippine variant,” Roque told ABS-CBN News Channel.

“Unfortunately, all these variants made the disease more infectious and more transmissible. So I’d like to stress, it’s not just foreign variants. Even the Philippine variant now, that’s something that no one could have done anything about because it’s in the nature of viruses to mutate,” he added.

“What we need to do now is to adapt to these new variants, if they are more transmissible, then we will be more vigilant in our ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas’ and of course our bakuna,” Roque further said.

“So yung mga nagse-second thoughts pa about the bakuna, it’s more transmissible, although it is not deadlier…with more people getting sick, there will be more people inevitably who will get sick in a serious and critical manner, so have your vaccine if you are able to have it now,” the Malacañang official added.

It was in March last year the government imposed Metro Manila and other provinces under ECQ.

As of Sunday, March 28, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 9,475 new infections bringing the national total to 721,892.

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