The Quezon City government has reinforced its efforts to protect the city against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) amid recent reports that a new strain of the virus has been detected in the country.

Mayor Joy Belmonte ordered the city’s 142 barangays to closely monitor residents arriving from abroad, especially those from at least 20 countries where the new virus strain has spread–namely the United Kingdom, Middle East, Turkey, Netherlands, France, Australia, and China among others.

“Following the old adage ‘prevention is better than cure,’ we are now focused on stopping the new virus strain from spreading here,” said Belmonte.

She also said the city plans to request hotels currently being used as quarantine facilities to give the city the list of names of Quezon City residents who were registered in their facility.

The city will also seek help from the Bureau of Quarantine in identifying QCitizens who are returning from other countries.

QC Task Force on COVID-19 Head Joseph Juico assured QCitizens that the city has consistently ramped up its contact tracing efforts, improved quarantine facilities, and expanded testing capabilities.

“Prior to this report of a new strain, we have established a good strategy to improve surveillance, and control surges, upticks and possibly this new COVID-19 variant,” Juico said.

Juico added the city will continuously remind residents to strictly follow basic health protocols amid reports of increased transmission rate of the new variant, through an intensified communication campaign.