The National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 said the visit of Israeli health experts is very timely and crucial as the government ramped up its coronavirus disease (Covid-19) response efforts amid the threat of the Delta variant.
NTF Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the vaccination program has been improved after the first delegation of Israeli experts visited the country and assist the government in ensuring proper vaccine management last month.
“It was only a month ago when your government sent a delegation of vaccine and logistics experts here to observe our vaccine deployment and administration strategies and offer recommendations on how we can further improve them. We certainly learned a lot from them and have incorporated their suggestions into our current systems and approaches,” Galvez said in a written message read by his representative, Ret. Brig. Gen. Agustus De Villa, during the Philippines-Israel health experts’ discussions on the Covid-19 pandemic responses at the Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Tuesday.
Galvez said the second delegation of the Israeli experts has come in a “very crucial time” now that the country has detected local transmission of the more vicious Delta Covid-19 variant.
“While the national government is now focused on scaling up the implementation of our Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDTIR) strategy and impose stricter border control in all points of entry, we know that there are still much to be learned and much to be done,” he added.
The visiting Israeli team is scheduled to observe the Philippines’ Covid-19 mitigation efforts and inspect the country’s hospitalization capacity within this week.
“We hope that through this series of consultations and site visits to our health facilities, you will be able to provide us more insights on how we can better manage and control the spread of the delta variant,” Galvez said.
During the discussions, Chaim Markos Rafalowski, Disaster Management Coordinator of the Magen David Adom in Israel, shared how the Israeli Ministry of Health along with medical professionals is trying to halt the local transmission of the Delta variant.
“Some of the strategies we did to mitigate the Covid-19 is that we close our borders very early in Israel and we had an early detection of cases, particularly the Delta variant,” he said.
Rafalowski said the health experts involved in virus mitigation must consider the isolation of those at risk of exposure, including active cases and their close contacts, and increase capacity on epidemiological investigations.
On his part, Health Undersecretary Dr. Leopoldo Vega, head of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)’s Response Cluster, said there are many similar practices being done by the Philippines and Israel when it comes to containing the pandemic.