President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, July 19, warned the public on the threat posed by COVID-19 Delta variant, saying the government may reimpose more stringent health measures to contain the mutated variant’s possible spread.
During his weekly Talk to the People, President Duterte cited a Department of Health (DOH) report saying as of July 16, there were 16 new cases of Delta variant in the country.
“That should give us a — put us in grave concern because ang sabi na nga na it is aggressive, vicious, and more virulent, and can cause death faster than,” he said, noting the Delta variant is believed to be 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
“In comparison with Alpha, positive person can infect four to five persons while the Delta one can infect eight persons. So more than three.”
The Chief Executive noted that the reported local cases of the Delta variant are a cause for serious alarm and the government may need to reimpose stricter restrictions to avoid mass gathering and prevent superspreader events.
“Pagka nandito na kung sakali man it will spread, I hope it will not, then we’ll have to go again to stricter measures,” he said.
Several countries were forced to impose lockdowns to contain the spread of the Delta variant. These countries include Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
The President urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to implement the existing protocols with greater urgency and necessity.
“It is only by imposing these restrictions that we can fight the threat of Delta variant,” he said.
In his report to the President, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said that so far, the country has a total of 36 cases of the Delta variant, which he said, may be higher due to the difficulty in pinpointing actual cases through the use of ordinary test kits.
“Kaya nangangailangan nang mas matinding pag-iingat ang lahat,” he said.
According to the interior chief, the DILG will release a memorandum reminding local government units (LGUs) on the need to prepare their strategies as soon as possible for possible local transmission of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
He made an assurance that the government has a contingency plan in case there’s a surge in cases.
LGUs and the PNP will implement all the laws, ordinances and IATF omnibus guidelines as well as community quarantine protocols to ensure public welfare, he said.
Border controls will also be strengthened especially in the country’s international airports and seaports, he added.
At the same time, Año said the local chief executives will also lead the aggressive Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) plus vaccination strategy.
And in preparation for a possible spike in cases, the interior chief also said that the government will put up more quarantine and isolation facilities as well as healthcare facilities.
Everyone, he said, should diligently follow the minimum public health standard and advised the people to get vaccinated whenever they have the opportunity.
“Ito ang pinakamahusay na panlaban sa COVID lalo na sa COVID-19 Delta variant,” he said. PND