MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday called on local government units (LGUs) to intensify their border control, the implementation of the Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) strategy, and the vaccination rollout amid the reported detection of local cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Delta variant.
DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said granular lockdown should be the primary action in various areas in the country where the Delta variant is detected.
“Our foremost or primary strategy, for now, is granular lockdown […] Kung nakikita natin ang isang area has surge tapos may Delta variant yan ang pag-uusapan sa IATF kung kailangnan natin i-escalate ang mga areas na ito […] Kung kasama po sa surge nila iyan tapos may Delta, we will be recommending a stricter classification for that specific area,” Vergeire said.
The DOH Epidemiology Bureau and the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), on the other hand, clarified that although cases of the Delta variant have been detected in the country, they are not related to each other except the ones traced in Cagayan de Oro City that have a clustering of cases.
“Ako po, I would say not yet because we haven’t been able to link that one case has been able to infect another. Kung titingnan natin doon sa WHO definition, […] we have sporadic na paisa-isa lamang and then iyong local nga po na from one infection local to another. But of course, we are continuously investigating this,” Dr. Alethea de Guzman, OIC-Director 3 of the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, said.
“One hundred percent sourced from abroad. We have done a genetic analysis of all the Delta variants in the Philippines. They are all rooted in samples abroad. Some of them are very closely linked with clusters in India, others are in the United Arab Emirates, others are probably in South East Asia. So huwag tayo maniwala na natural nag-evolve dito sa atin,” PGC executive director Dr. Cynthia Saloma said.
The DOH said the country now has a total of 35 Delta variant cases. The department will closely monitor the case trend in the regions where they are detected.
“Sa ngayon po may bahagyang pagtaas sa ilang lugar pero hindi pa ganoon kataas kaya nasasabi natin possible po na sporadic pa lang ito at ito ang opportunity po na ma-contain natin ang further spread,” de Guzman said.
“We are intensifying our surveillance and other protection and isolation measures,” she added.
Medical experts warned the public to avoid any form of gatherings and limit exposure within the family only, amid the detection of local cases in the country,
The health department also encourages the public to avail of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, stressing that the transmissibility ratio of the variant is 1:8.
This means that an individual who is found positive for the Delta variant may be able to infect eight others once health protocols are breached. —/mbmf (from the report of Aiko Miguel)