President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing stricter health measures in preparation for the possible local transmission of the “more aggressive and fatal” Covid-19 Delta variant in the country.
“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 in his pre-recorded Talk to the People aired Monday night.
Duterte said the Department of Health (DOH) has reported 16 new cases of Delta variant in the country, as of July 16.
“We have seen and heard in recent news about the spike of Covid-19 cases in other countries, including our neighbor Indonesia, due to the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus,” he said.
He cited the Covid-19 situation in Indonesia which, according to media reports, has averaged 49,435 new cases, and more than 1,000 deaths a day for the past week.
“They have many vaccines in the stockpile. They were one of the few countries that declared that they were almost Covid-free. The problem in Indonesia and other countries, the Delta variant entered. Actually, it’s just a mutation of the Covid-19, but it is more vicious it’s more aggressive and fatal,” he said partly in Filipino as he warned the public against the entry of the Delta variant into the country.
“That should give us – put us in grave concernbecause they say it is aggressive, vicious, and more virulent and can cause death faster than the Covid-19,” he said.
Based on the DOH report, the Delta variant is “60 percent more transmissible than the usual Alpha variant (B 117 UK lineage).”
Once more dreaded new variants will be detected in the Philippines, Duterte said “we will have to go with stricter measures.”
“I hope that our existing infrastructure in dealing with the problem of Covid-19 can cope up depending on whether the Covid-19 vaccines can be as effective in dealing with the virus Delta,” he said.
Duterte urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police to implement the existing health protocols with greater urgency and necessity.
“Is only by imposing stricter restrictions that we can fight the Delta variant,” he said. “Remember the reason why the security forces of the government are very strict, is not that they want to be strict and they want to make it hard for the people to move, rather they are strict because they want to protect the country from a very contagious disease and may cause more deaths more than the lives that we lost in the past.”
Meanwhile, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said the 16 additional cases of Delta variant have been detected since last week – three cases in the National Capital Region, 10 cases in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), and two cases in Region 6 (Western Visayas).
The government, he said, is closely monitoring the country’s cases and health system indicators as well as intensifying the four response strategies to mitigate the spread of the Delta variant within communities