The Department of Health (DOH) urged the different local government units (LGUs) to strengthen their strategies against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the Delta variant is becoming “dominant” globally.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the Delta variant, which originated in India, is associated with increased transmissibility, high probability of getting hospitalized, and longer time in the hospital, based on initial studies.
“So kapag tiningnan natin ito, mukhang medyo severe ang dinudulot na sakit. Pero tulad ng sabi ko (So when we look at it, it looks like it is causing severe infection. But like I said), we need sufficient evidence. These are just initial observations across the globe,” she said during the Laging Handa press briefing on Saturday, June 19.
Vergeire urged the LGUs to implement strictly and properly the prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate (PDITR) strategy, the minimum public health standards, and the vaccination program.
“Ito ang kaya nating gawin para maprevent natin (This is what we can do to prevent us) from having these variants being dominant here in the country,” she said.
She also emphasized the continued implementation of strict border control for international travelers to prevent the entry of possible Delta variant cases.
“Kailangan po pare-pareho ang pagpapatupad natin across the regions at kung ano ang nairekomenda natin base sa mga advice ng experts. Ipatupad natin ng maayos (We need to implement this consistently across all regions together with our other recommendations based on the advice of our experts. Let’s implement it properly),” said Vergeire.
“Sana ituloy-tuloy lang natin itong ganitong klaseng mahigpit na border control so we can prevent that it reaches our community (I hope we will continue this kind of strict border control so we can prevent it from reaching our communities),” she added.
Vergeire, meanwhile, said that the public should not be alarmed at this point but told them to be “cautious.”
“Kailangan cautious po tayo, kailangan aware tayo. Kailangan alam natin ang sitwasyon na kung saka-sakali nga mangyari ito, maaring mas mabilis ang pagkalat ng impeskyon, maaring marami na naman ang maoopsital (We need to be cautious and aware. We need to be aware of the situation that if this happens, the infection may spread faster, and many more people may be hospitalized),” she said,
Health authorities have so far detected 13 cases of Delta variant in the Philippines, said Vergeire.
On Friday, June 18, Reuters reported that the Delta “is becoming the globally dominant variant” of COVID-19.
“The Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its increased transmissibility,” Reuters reported, quoting WHO’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan.