Ambassador Alonto Advises Vaccinated: Continue Health Protocols; 17 PHL Embassy Employees Catch Covid-19

Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs


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(SDN) — It’s a truly cruel reality: Even if you are fully vaccinated you can still catch Covid-19 infection.

Either the jab you got is a vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson, or Sinovac and Sputnik, etc., they still do not guarantee 100 percent protection from catching SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the dreaded and massively fatal coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Think over four million death rate already and infection cases at over 187 million worldwide.

Closer to home, the Philippines has 25,921 fatalities out of more than 1.4 million cases. All figures thanks to as of July 11, 2021.

No wonder the top diplomat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Adnan Alonto, of President Rodrigo R. Duterte has advised even those already were fully vaccinated to continue adhering to health and social distancing protocols.

Philippine Embassy staff hit by coronavirus.
Ambassador Adnan Alonto (right) receives South Korean Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Park Joon-yong. The Korean envoy paid a courtesy call on the Filipino diplomat last week. (Credit: Facebook)

Alonto knows where he comes from. He has personal knowledge of fully vaccinated people yet still caught the coronavirus.

In fact, he issued on July 8 an “Advisory on Suspension of Daily Services at the Embassy” because many of the staff  contracted the virus. The suspension started on Sunday, July 11, until Thursday, July 15. (Other confirmed services to push through.)

“Most of the embassy staff hit by the virus are vaccinated. As of today (July 11), we have 17 embassy staff members, including one vice consul. Luckily, my wife and I have been spared this time around. We hope that with the suspension of operations at the embassy, we can allow these staff to fully recover,” the ambassador revealed to SDN — Science and Digital News.

Alonto added that the embassy staff received either Pfizer or AstraZeneca jabs provided by the Kingdom.

The case at the Philippine Embassy in the Saudi capital once again proved not to take lightly health and social distancing protocols. Not even if you have a Pfizer vaccine, or the others.

“This means that even if you’re fully vaccinated, there is no assurance you will not catch the virus and even experience symptoms from it. My advice is for all of us, even vaccinated ones, to continue observing health and social distancing protocols and avoid crowds,” Alonto told SDN via Messenger.

“Our embassy staff are our front-liners in the delivery of services offered by the embassy, I will do what is necessary to protect them and the transacting public.”

The embassy advisory states:

“Due to a substantial number of its personnel having been infected or under quarantine and in order to prevent compromising the health of its clients, the Embassy of the Philippines in Riyadh informs the public of the suspension of all services at the Embassy on 11-15 July 2021 (Sunday to Thursday).”

The advisory assured that all appointments already confirmed for July 11-15 “will be accommodated from 25 to 29 July.”

It’s the second time the embassy in Riyadh had to put in place contingency measures due to Covid-19. In July of 2020 at least nine staff tested positive for coronavirus.

At that time even Alonto caught the coronavirus but soon recovered.

Related story: Hit by Coronavirus, PHL Embassy in KSA Adopts Contingency

Obviously, embassy staff or personnel, even officials, are potential for being infected as the diplomatic mission is the go-to place for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Just imagine, the Kingdom is host and home to more or less a million-strong Filipino community. Add to that, embassy personnel being front-liners also get out frequently into the field to serve the OFWs.

The biggest concentration of the Filipino community is in the Riyadh Region — around 400,000 based on figures of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

As bigger proof that fully vaccinated people still are infected, look at the United States, Israel (mostly using Pfizer and other Western-developed vaccines), Indonesia (mostly Sinovac), and other countries where breakthrough cases (infections on the fully vaccinated) are happening.

So, don’t discard that mask and face shield, keep the social distancing and wash hands frequently, especially if you went outside of your home.

Just a reminder to those who forgot. Covid-19 as dubbed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March of 2020 first emerged and originated in China’s Wuhan City, Hubei Province, in December 2019. (✓)


Featured image is the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh from its website.

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