MANILA - The Philippines needs to beef up its oxygen supply in order to be better prepared in the event that there would be another surge due to the Delta COVID-19 variant, the Department of Health said Monday.
The DOH earlier warned that another surge was possible after 11 local cases of the Delta variant were reported in Northern Mindanao, Metro Manila, Western Visayas, and Central Luzon.
The health department has been preparing for another surge since the variant was first reported in India, said DOH Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Tayo po ay nagpre-prepare for this Delta variant. Sabi nga natin it’s just a matter of time bago makapasok... Currently our existing oxygen supply is sufficient but we need to add additional so that we can be more prepared," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We are preparing for this Delta variant. As we said, it's just a matter of time before it enters...)
"Our hospitals are now more guided that they should be expanding their beds already. Our local governments have been guided also they should intensify their PDITR (Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate) response."
The variant is more transmissible and the probability of hospitalization is higher, Vergeire said.
"Kailangan lang po tayo ay (We just need to be) very cautious. Ipatupad ang protocol natin (Let's implement our protocols) for isolation of close contacts and those turning positive," she said.
The country earlier said it would export excess oxygen supply to neighboring Indonesia to help in its fight against surging COVID-19 cases due to the variant.
Mobility will always be a "risk" and a "factor" in the virus' spread, Vergeire said. The Inter-Agency Task Force will continuously asses the situation in the capital region, Vergeire added following proposals that the NCR Plus bubble be reinforced to keep the variant out.
"We will assess everyday so we can see if we need to heighten restrictions at kung kailangan magkaroon ulit ng (and to see if there's a need to implement the) NCR Plus bubble," she said.