DILG prepares for possible Delta variant local transmission

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MANILA – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año assured the public that the local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will enforce all laws, ordinances, omnibus guidelines, and community quarantine protocols in order to protect the people from the possible local transmission of the more infectious Delta variant of Covid-19.

“Kaya huwag pong mangamba ang ating mga kababayan sapagkat tayo ay may nakahandang plano para sa Covid Delta variant (That is why the public should not worry since there are prepared plans for the Covid Delta variant),’’ Año said during the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting prior to President Rodrigo Duterte’s talk to the people in Davao City on Monday night.

Año stated that the agency will immediately release a memorandum instructing local governments to urgently create strategic plans in the event of a local transmission of the Delta variant.

“Ang [Covid-19] delta variant ang nakikitang sanhi ng biglang pag-spike ng mga kaso sa ibang bansa katulad ng India at Indonesia (The delta variant is seen as the root cause in the spike of the cases in other countries like India and Indonesia),’’ Año said.

He noted that border control, particularly at international airports and seaports, will be reinforced, and that local chief executives (LCE) will spearhead vigorous mass vaccination as well as speedier testing, tracking, contact tracing, and isolation of patients infected with the virus.

Año stated that the policy for the management of emerging infectious illnesses, Operation: Listo (Operation: Awareness), will increase the number of quarantine and isolation facilities as well as health care facilities.

According to Año, the country has so far reported 36 Delta variant cases, two of which have resulted in deaths.

He advised the public to closely follow the minimum public health standards because the Delta variant cannot be recognized by normal testing and can only be traced by “venom sequencing”.

The DILG chief also stated that other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and Malaysia, are currently implementing lockdowns to prevent the Delta variant from being transmitted.

PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the outbreak of Delta variant in India should serve as a reminder to everyone the necessity of properly adhering to health protocols.

“Lahat tayo ay naging saksi sa mga naganap sa India at hindi natin gugustuhin na mangyari ang pananalasa ng Covid-19 sa ating bansa, lalo pa’t may mga kumpirmadong kaso at may mga namatay na nga sa ating bansa dahil sa Delta variant (We all witnessed what happened in India and we do not want it to happen in our country now that we have confirmed cases of the Delta variant and known fatalities),” he said.

According to the Department of Health, a patient infected with the Delta variant can infect up to eight people in one sitting.

Duterte is considering tougher health measures in anticipation of the country’s local transmission of the “more aggressive and lethal” Delta variant.

“The reported local cases in the country is a cause for serious alarm and concern. Again it’s redundant but it’s good as any warning that can be given to people. We may need to impose stricter restrictions to avoid mass gathering and prevent super spreader event,” Duterte said during his Talk to the People program.

Eleazar assured that if Duterte decides to impose stricter quarantine measures, the PNP will be ready.

“I have tasked all police offices and units to coordinate closely with their respective LGUs so that they may come up with stringent measures to curb the spread of the variant,” he added.

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