Cebu City governor twits IATF member for blaming health protocols for spread of Delta variant

Published August 12, 2021, 2:44 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has admonished a member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for supposedly blaming the province’s health protocols as the reason behind the spread of the more transmissible variant of COVID-19 in and outside the province.

Garcia challenged Dr. Edsel Salvana Wednesday to present data to prove that the outbreaks of the Delta variant of COVID-19 was caused by the province’s swab-upon-arrival policy for arriving Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

“So how dare you blame Cebu, you better backup your statement with clear data because we have our own data to refute you,” said Garcia. “Next time Dr. Salvana, be mindful of your statement. You consider yourself as an expert? Well, you’ve been around, haven’t you? For over a year and have you been able to come out with a clear road map on how to deal with COVID-19? All that you seem to recommend is dance the Sinulog, two steps forward, one step backward, but worse with you, it’s one step forward five steps backward for the economy, for livelihood of people, for this country in fact. So watch what you say,” the governor added.

In his column titled “Clinical Matters” published in the Manila Bulletin last August 10, Salvana said he was one of the IATF representatives who attended a special session by the Cebu provincial board at the Capitol last July 29.

Salvana said during the session, the IATF warned Cebu officials of the threats of Delta variant.

“Given that previous variants of concern had entered the Philippines from international sources, the TAG wanted to make sure that returning Filipinos were properly quarantined and tested prior to being allowed into the community,” Salvana said.

“We warned that if Delta got into Cebu due to lax border control, a bad surge was forthcoming. Delta is now in Cebu causing a large spike in cases, overwhelming their healthcare system. Some of the Delta outbreaks in Mindanao have been linked through whole genome analysis to returning Filipinos who entered through the Cebu airport. While it might have been impossible to completely stop Delta from coming in, it could have been further slowed down,” Salvana added.