MANILA - The Philippine government has yet to determine if there is already local transmission of the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant in the country, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday.
“We have local cases but yung local transmission, we still have to determine dahil gumagawa tayo ngayon ng intensive contact- tracing. Kailangan nating makita kung yun pong mga kaso natin sa community are linked to each other. Sa ngayon po, ‘di pa natin nakikita yan dahil sporadic pa lang yung kaso, nasa iba’t ibang lugar, wala pa tayong nakikitang pagkalink ng bawat isa,” Vergeire said.
(We have local cases but local transmission we still have to determine and we're doing intensive contact-tracing for that. We need to see if these cases in the community are linked to each other. So far, we don’t see that because it’s sporadic in some areas.)
The Department of Health on Friday said it has detected 16 new Delta variant cases in the Philippines, including the 11 local cases. Of the new cases, 5 were returning overseas Filipino workers.
“We need to determine and assess and evaluate ito pong ating sitwasyon bago po tayo makapagsabi na there’s local transmission,” she said.
(We need to determine and assess and evaluate our situation before we could say that there’s local transmission.)
But of the total 35 individuals detected with the Delta variant, all recovered except for two patients who died, she said in an interview on TeleRadyo.
“What we're trying to look at right now would be that possibility kung saan nagkaroon ng breach sa protocol ng border control, kasi itong Delta variant ang iniisip natin mukhang galing talaga sa ibang bansa,” she said.
(What we're trying to look at right now would be that possibility if there was a breach in the border control protocol because we know that this Delta variant came from abroad.)
The Delta variant, first detected in India, can infect 5 to 8 persons, Vergeire said. The DOH has instructed the local governments of affected areas to improve their contact-tracing efforts.
“We have to know also the origin of all these cases. We need to find those people who were exposed to these specific individuals. We also need to guide them and be able to monitor them para ma-contain natin, ma-prevent natin kung sakali,” she said.
Meanwhile, Vergiere said placing Metro Manila under a bubble is “impossible at this time.”
“As to having NCR as a bubble, napag-usapan na ito sa IATF and this is really impossible because NCR is a central hub, marami tayong workers coming from Region 3, Region 4A and parang magkakaroon tayo ng bottleneck and challenges when we do that,” she explained.
“Having NCR as a bubble is really impossible because NCR is a central hub, there area many workers coming from Region 3, Region 4A and there will be bottleneck and challenges when we do that.)
Metro Manila is now under regular General Community Quarantine until July 31, 2021.
“Ang usapan namin with Metro Manila mayors together with MMDA, sabi in Chairman [Benhur] Abalos ang dami nating ports of entry and exit ang daming workers na pumupunta dito everyday baka kailangang maging strict lang tayo sa control sa borders. Gagawa daw po sila ng sampling, testing those travelers na lumalabas at pumapasok dito,” she said.
(What was discussed with metro mayors together with the MMDA, Chairman Abalos said with so many ports of entry and exit and the influx of workers everyday, maybe we should just be more strict with our border control. They would also conduct sampling, testing of those travelers going in and out of Metro Manila.)
She added, “But having this as a bubble impossible at this time.”
As of Friday, the Philippines logged a total of 1,496,328 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 5,676 new infections.