MANILA - An infectious diseases expert admitted Tuesday she is worried the Philippines may experience a surge in COVID-19 cases similar to Indonesia's because of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Dr. Anna Ong Lim, a pediatric infectious diseases expert from the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, said the best thing to prevent another surge is to ensure that the elderly and adults with comorbidities get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as possible.
"Yes, kinakabahan ako," she told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(Yes, I am worried.)
"Alam naman natin na malaki 'yung supply issue natin, so importante talagang habulin 'yun vaccination ng A2 at A3. Kung mayroon pang natitirang A2 at A3 sa pamilya ninyo na hindi pa nababakunahan, please pakidala na lang sa mga centers," she advised.
(We know that we have a big vaccine supply issue, so what's important is the vaccination of those in the A2 and A3 group. If there are still those in A2 and A3 in your family who have not yet been vaccinated, bring them to the centers.)
"Kung hindi na kaya ng inyong mga LGUs, gawan ninyo ng paraan. It's the only way we can prevent being overwhelmed."
(If the LGUs cannot do it, you have to do something about it on your own. It's the only way we can prevent being overwhelmed.)
Citing the situation in other countries where hospitals have been filled with patients, Ong Lim said this can be prevented in the Philippines by ensuring the elderly people and those with comorbidities are protected through vaccination.
Authorities should also prepare facilities for the mild and moderate cases, so that there will be enough hospital beds for the severe and critical cases, she said.
There should be proper monitoring as well, in case local governments decide on allowing home quarantine for mild and moderate cases.
"And then, the other thing that we can start thinking about is the previous surge. Puno na 'yung mga ospital natin ng mga mild and moderate (cases) by the time nagsidamihan 'yung severe and critical," Ong Lim recalled.
(And then, the other thing that we can start thinking about is the previous surge. Our hospitals are already filled with mild and moderate cases by the time severe and critical cases increased.)
"So hindi ba dapat 'yung mild and moderate gawan na natin ng paraan kung saan natin sila dapat dalhin kung dumami na sila ulit?" she said.
(So shouldn't we decide where we can send the mild and moderate cases should the numbers increase again?)
The Philippines on Tuesday recorded 4,516 additional COVID-19 infections, the fewest in nearly a week, as the health department confirmed active cases of the more contagious Delta variant first detected in India.
These brought the country's total COVID-19 cases to 1,517,903, with 26,844 deaths and 46,806 active cases.
Earlier in the day, the health department said 8 Filipinos who have supposedly recovered from the highly contagious Delta variant tested positive again for the coronavirus, based on their latest RT-PCR results.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said of the 8 active Delta variant cases, 4 are in Cagayan de Oro, 1 is in Manila, another 1 is in Misamis Oriental, while 2 others are returning Filipinos.