The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 has advised Filipinos to continue adhering to minimum public health standards, or else risk the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and possibly trigger a devastating outbreak like the one seen in India.
During President Duterte’s pre-recorded public address aired on Monday night, June 21, NTF Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. underscored that the Delta variant, previously known as the Indian variant, was more transmissible and severe than the original strain of COVID-19.
“We urge the business sector and the local government units (LGUs) to be vigilant against the Delta variant because we have seen that it is more transmissible and severe. It really is more dangerous,” said Galvez, who wore a face mask during the entirety of his presentation. This was the first time he did it in recent briefings with the President.
Citing international studies on the new variants as presented by global management firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Galvez said the Delta variant has a “2.6 times increased transmission” and “likely increased severity” than the original strain.
As such, the vaccine czar said there should be a continued vigilance among all stakeholders to prevent an outbreak of the Delta variant in the Philippines.
“There should be a stringent control. We have to anticipate everything on a large scale in our pandemic response. We have seen what happened in India,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Department of Health (DOH) announced the detection of four new cases of the Delta variant in the country.
It’s believed that the particular variant to caused the overwhelming outbreak of COVID cases in India last April.
The India surge led to 400,000 new cases in a day, forcing the sick to lay down on the pavement of hospitals as the were no available beds. Meanwhile, the bodies of the deceased had to be burned in outdoor pyres since crematoriums couldn’t no longer handle the demand.
With this, the government is racing against time to vaccinate as many Filipinos as possible to provide an additional layer of protection against new COVID-19 variants.
“If you only have one dose, you are not fully protected against these new variants. Those who received the double dose or fully vaccinated have an extra protection against the variants,” Galvez noted.
As of June 20, a total of 6.2 million Filipinos have received their first dose while 2.1 million have been fully vaccinated.